Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
Qiang 羌 references in the Book of the Later Han  后汉书
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

Saving this for later? Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime – even offline.
Text the download link to your phone
Standard text messaging rates apply

Qiang 羌 references in the Book of the Later Han 后汉书


Published on

An English translation of Qiang (羌) references in the Later Han Histories or Hou Han Shu (后汉书).

An English translation of Qiang (羌) references in the Later Han Histories or Hou Han Shu (后汉书).

Published in: Education, Technology
1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

No notes for slide


  • 1. QIANG 羌 REFERENCES IN THE BOOK OF THE LATER HAN 后汉书INTRODUCTIONThe Book of the Later Han (Hou Han Shu) was compiled by Fan Ye in the 5th century usingearlier documents and histories as his sources. It covers the Eastern Han period from 25 – 220AD and is a valuable source of information about the Qiang peoples on China’s western bordersat that time. In this document I have sought to translate every Qiang reference in the Hou HanShu, omitting only a few very minor references.With much gratitude I have used a freely available on-line text of the Hou Han Shu for thetranslation, which can be found at: My aim is to give an overall view of the situation of the Qiang in this time period. I amaware that only translating the Qiang references results in a lack of broader context but I havehad to set limits. Occasionally I have included other references which shed light on aspectswhich relate to the Qiang. My main source and starting point for tracing place locations 117, the Biography of the Western Qiang, is long and detailed so I have published itseparately. Chapter 118 has been translated with extensive notes by John E. Hill and is availablein his book, Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later HanDynasty, 1st to 2nd Centuries CE.For background information on this period see The Government and Geography of the NorthernFrontier of Late Han by Rafe de Crespigny.1 I also highly recommend Rafe de Crespigny’s lateEastern Han map as a companion for this study.2 To aid understanding of Qiang-relatedlocations, I have tried to find today’s equivalent of many place names and noted them in thefootnotes. My own comments are either in the main body of the text in italics or in the footnotes.I have used the old pinyin ‘Shaanxi’ for 陕西 to differentiate it from Shanxi 山西. In addition tothe chapter numbering, in the original Chinese each chapter is also numbered in relation to itssection within the work. I have generally only translated the basic chapter numbers.The first nine chapters of the Hou Han Shu are chronologically ordered records of the emperorsand they provide a basic outline of conflict between various Qiang groups and the Han, usuallyincluding the location of the conflict and who won. A study of the Qiang references in laterchapters reveals more details of these battles and also some valuable observations about theQiang and their relationships with those around them. The Qiang are frequently described asthe ‘rebellious Qiang’ but it has to be remembered that this is from a Han perspective and thatthe Hou Han Shu is an official historical record. In some situations the Qiang had submitted tothe Han and then rebelled but in other situations they had never submitted and although theHan viewed them as resisting the right of the emperor to rule over them, they were simplyenemies rather than rebels.I have done this work as an independent researcher/translator and would like to thank thosewho have helped make this possible – you know who you are. I taught English from 2006-2008at Aba Teachers College in Wenchuan and from 2008-2009 in Gucheng, Pixian, where thecollege was temporarily relocated after the 2008 earthquake. The earthquake wroughtdevastation in the Qiang areas of Sichuan and as the Qiang community continue to rebuild theirlives, I dedicate this work to the future of this ancient community.Rachel Meakin, October 2011 ( , website: )1
  • 2. CHAPTER 1: 光武帝紀第一 The Records of Emperor Guangwu (r.25-57 AD)In the 9th year of Emperor Guangwu (33 AD), the position of Colonel Protector of the Qiang wasre-established.3In the 10th month of the 10th year, the Xianlian Qiang (先零羌4) invaded Jincheng (金成) andLongxi (陇西). The Han attacked them in Wuxi, winning a significant victory.In the 11th year, around the 4th month, the Xianlian Qiang invaded Lintao.5 In the winter of the11th year, Ma Yuan, the governor of Longxi,6 attacked and defeated the Xianlian Qiang, who werethen moved to Tianshui, Longxi and Fufeng.7In the 12th year, the Canlang Qiang ( 参狼羌) invaded Wudu, and the governor of Longxi, MaYuan, dispatched troops against them and they were subdued.In autumn of the 13th year, the Baima Qiang (White Horse Qiang 白马羌) of Guanghan, whichwas beyond the borders, led their type of people to submit to the interior.In the 1st Zhongyuan year (56 AD), the Canlang Qiang invaded Wudu, defeating the commanderytroops, and the Longxi commandery head, Liu Xu, sent reinforcements, so the Wuducommandery soldiers attacked the rebellious Qiang and the Qiang were all defeated.CHAPTER 2: 显宗孝明帝纪第二 The Records of Emperor Ming (r. 57-75)In the autumn of the 2nd Zhongyuan year (57 AD), the Shaodang Qiang (烧当羌) invaded Longxiand defeated the commandery troops at Yunjie.8 There was an amnesty for prisoners in Longxiand taxes were cancelled. The 3,000 men who had been sent to Tianshui were also sent backagain to guard the frontier for a year. The ‘Yezhe’ official,9 Zhang Hong, attacked the rebellingQiang in Yunwu10 but was badly defeated and died in battle. In winter, the 11th month, theZhonglang General Dou Gu and the ‘Seizing the Enemy’ General Ma Wu and their men attackedthe Shaodang Qiang.3 The position of Colonel Protector of the Qiang was first established in 111 BC when the Western Qiangand Xiongnu together had surrounded Fuhan [northeast of today’s Linxia in Gansu]. The ColonelProtector of the Qiang was the chief military official in the Qiang area, overseeing the affairs of the Qiangand responsible for keeping them under control.4 Although the Chinese characters read Xianling, the original pronunciation would have been ‘lian’ so thename is often written as Xianlian. (See: Northern Frontier: the Policies and Strategy of the Later HanEmpire by Rafe de Crespigny, Australian National University Press, 1984, p 471,n.14). They are at timesreferred to as Xianlian Qiang and at times just referred to as Xianlian. They were a relatively large groupalready mentioned in Chapter 69 of the Han Shu, in 63 BC, when they were in eastern Qinghai and feudingwith two other Qiang groups, the Han 罕 and Kai.5临洮: In today’s Dingxi, Gansu.6太守: provincial governor/ commandery chief.7 陇西:Dingxi area of Gansu, south of Lanzhou. 扶风: Baoji area of Shaanxi. 天水: between Longxi andFufeng.8允街: in the Yongdeng area of Gansu, northwest of Lanzhou. Yunjie was in Jincheng commandery.9谒者: an official position.10 允吾: Yunwu was also in Jincheng commandery, with its seat of government in today’s Minhe county,Haidong prefecture, Qinghai.
  • 3. In the 1st Yongping year (57 AD), in the autumn, General Ma Wu went to war against theShaodang Qiang and won a major victory. Troops were recruited to guard the garrison atLongyou.11In the second year in the 12th month, the Colonel Protector of the Qiang, Dou Lin, wasimprisoned and died.CHAPTER 3: 肃宗孝章帝纪第三 The Records of Emperor Zhang (r.75-88)In the 6th month of the 2nd Jianchu year (77 AD), the Shaodang Qiang rebelled and the governorof Jincheng, Hao Chong, attacked them but was utterly defeated. The Qiang then invadedHanyang. In the 8th month, the General of Cavalry and Chariots, Ma Fang, was sent to attack andpacify them.In the 3rd Jianchu year (78 AD), Ma Fang defeated the Shaodang Qiang at Lintao.In the 10th month of the 3rd Yuanhe year (86 AD), the Shaodang Qiang rebelled and invadedLongxi. That year, the Chief Official of the Western Regions, Ban Chao, attacked and beheaded12the king of Shule (Kashgar).In the 3rd month of the 1st Zhanghe year (87 AD), the Colonel Protector of the Qiang, Fu Yu,pursued and attacked the rebelling Qiang, but was killed in battle. Later that year, the ShaodangQiang invaded Jincheng, and the Colonel Protector of the Qiang,13 Liu Xu, attacked them andbeheaded their leader.CHAPTER 4: 孝和孝殇帝纪第四 The Records of Emperor He (r. 88-106)In the 4th Yongyuan year (92 AD), the Shaodang Qiang invaded Jincheng.In the 5th year, the Colonel Protector of the Qiang, Guan You, attacked the Shaodang Qiang, sothe Qiang fled. An Guo, who was the Southern Shanyu,14rebelled and was beheaded by the Han.In the 4th month of the 6th year, the Qiang beyond the borders of Shu15 commandery led theirkind of people and sent an envoy to offer their submission.In the 9th year (97 AD), the Shaodang Qiang invaded Longxi and killed the senior official. TheAttacking the West General, Liu Shang, and the ‘Yueqi’ Colonel, Zhao Shi, were sent against themand defeated them.In the 12th month of the 10th year, the Shaodang Qiang chief, Mi Tang, led his kind of people tovisit the emperor and offer tribute.In the 12th year the Shaodang Qiang rebelled again.11陇右: the area to the west of the Long Mountains 陇山, also known as the Liupan Mountains, which runsouth from Guyuan in Ningxia, across Gansu into western Shaanxi.12 Beheading seems gruesome but before the advent of fire-arms, this was probably, like the guillotine, thequickest and least torturous way of killing an enemy.13 A certain irony here that the Protector of the Qiang would attack the Qiang and behead their leader buthe was charged with keeping the peace in areas of submitted Qiang, so any Qiang who were hostile to theHan would be seen as a threat. Several Protectors of the Qiang were dismissed from their posts for failingto quell rebellious Qiang.14 The Xiongnu (匈奴) leader was called Shanyu or Chanyu (单于)15 蜀: Shu commandery was centred on the western part of the Sichuan basin.
  • 4. In the 13th year (101 AD), the Colonel Protector of the Qiang, Zhou Wei, attacked the ShaodangQiang and defeated them.In a summary at the end of the chapter there is a reference to Tang Qiang 唐羌 which seems tobe a personal name: 时临武长汝南唐羌,县接南海,乃上书陈状。CHAPTER 5: 孝安帝紀第五 The Records of Emperor An (r.106-125)16In the 1st Yongchu year (107 AD) the Qiang beyond the borders of Shu entered and becamesubordinate.17 In the same year, the Xianlian type of Qiang rebelled and cut off the Longdistrict18 with much invading and plundering. The General of Chariots and Cavalry, Deng Zhi,and the Attacking the West Colonel, Ren Shang, were sent against them and a pardon wasoffered to the various Qiang who had banded together and plotted rebellion.In the 1st month of the 2nd Yongchu year (108 AD), Deng Zhi was defeated by the Zhong Qiang(钟羌) in Jixi.19In the 7th month, an imperial order was issued which described an earlier time whenthe people of China were hungry and drifting, and the Qiang and the Mo 貊20were hostileenemies of China. Around the 8th month of the 2nd Yongchu year, the Qiang beyond the bordersof Shu chose land and became vassals of China.21 In the 10th month, Ren Shang, the Attacking theWest Colonel, fought with the Xianlian Qiang at Pingxiang22 but his troops were badly defeated.In the 11th month, the Xianlian Qiang leader, Dian Lian,23 was named as ‘Son of Heaven’ inBeidi24 and the Xianlian then invaded Sanfu,25 violated the regions of Zhao and Wei and camesouth into Yizhou,26 killing Dong Bing, the head of Hanzhong commandery.This would have been a bold challenge to the Eastern Han rulers that Dianling would call himselfSon of Heaven, which meant ‘emperor.’In the 12th month of 108 AD, the Canlang Qiang beyond the borders of Guanghan surrendered,and the northern part of Guanghan was assigned as a vassal state [just north of Shu].A general comment follows here that the nation experienced 12 earthquakes that year.In the 3rd Yongchu year (109 AD), the Chief Commandant of Cavalry, Ren Ren attacked theXianlian Qiang but he was unsuccessful and the Qiang then thoroughly defeated Lintao.16 This is a key period in Qiang history – a major Qiang uprising which lasted more than a decade and wasenormously costly for the Han.17 This is significant as it is Qiang moving south or southeast into Shu commandery, which was governedfrom Chengdu.18陇道: this was an ancient place name in Gansu but the exact location is unclear.19 冀西: although this name is also associated with Hebei, it seems here to indicate the area around Ganguon the eastern side of Wushan county in Tianshui, Gansu.20 A term for early tribes of northeast China.21 This Shu vassal state may have included today’s Qiang area.22平襄: Northwest of Tongwei county, Dingxi, Gansu.23 As with Xianling/Xianlian in n.4 above, this may be Dian Lian rather than Dian Ling.24 Beidi 北地: centred on today’s Qingyang in northeastern Gansu (between Ningxia and Shaanxi), Beidiwas the most northeastern commandery of Liangzhou.25 The area around the capital, Chang’an, in the region of today’s Xi’an in Shaanxi.26益州: In the Eastern Han period Yizhou extended as far north as Hanzhong in southern Shaanxi andGuanghan on the Sichuan-Gansu border. In 106 BC, Emperor Wu established Yizhou commandery in theSichuan area, with its administrative centre at Luo county north of Guanghan. In 194 AD, government ofYizhou moved to Chengdu.
  • 5. In the 3rd month of the 4th year (110 AD), the Southern Shanyu of the Xiongnu surrendered. TheXianlian Qiang invaded Baozhong in the Hanzhong27 region. The head of Hanzhong commandery,Zheng Qin, died in battle.In the 2nd month of the 5th year (111 AD), the Xianlian Qiang invaded Hedong and then reachedHenei28.Possibly as a result of this major onslaught by the Xianlian, the next sentence says that in the 3rdmonth, under imperial order, (the administration of) Longxi was moved to Xiangwu, Anding wasmoved to Meiyang, Beidi was moved to Chiyang, and Shang commandery was moved to Ya.Also in the 5th year, in the 9th month, two men of Hanyang, Du Xi and Wang Xin, rebelled andjoined the Xianlian and various kinds of Qiang (先零诸种羌) to take Shanggui city29.In the 6th year, Dian Lian of the Xianlian Qiang died. His son, Lian Chang inherited his false title.[I.e. the title of ‘Son of Heaven.’]In autumn of the 7th year (113 AD), the Colonel Protector of the Qiang and the ChiefCommandant of Cavalry, Ma Xian, defeated the Xianlian Qiang.In the 5th month of the 1st Yuanchu year (114 AD) the Xianlian Qiang invaded Yongcheng30 andin the 9th month they invaded Wudu and Hanzhong, cutting off the Long region (陇道). In the10th month, the Xianlian Qiang defeated the Liangzhou provincial governor, Pi Yang, in the Diregion (狄道)[Another general reference to earthquakes: 15 across China in 114 AD.]In the 3rd month of the 2nd Yuanchu year (115 AD), the Xianlian Qiang invaded Yizhou, and theZhonglang General, Yin Jiu, was dispatched to suppress them. In the 10th month, the Youfufengofficial, Zhong Guang, the governor of Anding, Du Hui, and the Chief Tiger Tooth Commandant ofthe capital, Geng Pu, fought the Xianlian in Dingxi31 city. Guang and his men suffered a greatdefeat and were routed.In the 5th month of the 3rd Yuanchu year (116 AD), the Duliao General, Deng Zun led thesouthern Xiongnu against the Xianlian in Lingzhou32 and defeated them. [The Yi beyond theborders of Yuesui submitted to the Han.] In the 6th month, the Zhonglang General, Ren Shang,dispatched troops to attack and defeat the Xianlian Qiang in Dingxi city.33 In the 12th month, RenShang sent troops to attack and defeat the Xianlian Qiang in Beidi.In the 9th month of the 4th year, the Colonel Protector of the Qiang, Ren Shang, sent someone toassassinate Lian Chang (零昌) – the rebellious Qiang. In the 12th month, Ren Shang and the ChiefCavalry Commandant, Ma Xian fought the Xianlian Qiang at Fuping [in Beidi] above the river and27 In southern Shaanxi, bordering northeastern Sichuan.28 Hedong and Henei, literally ‘east of the river’ and ‘within the river.’ These areas, along with Henan, werearound the Luoyang stretch of the Yellow River.29 上邽城: today’s Qincheng area of Tianshui municipality in Gansu.30 雍城: Yongcheng had been the capital of the Qin state. In the Baoji region of Shaanxi, not far from theborder with Gansu.31定西: today’s Dingxi in Gansu, southeast of Lanzhou.32 灵州 Wuzhong area of Ningxia.33 丁奚城: northwest of Maling county in Qingzhou, Gansu.
  • 6. won a major victory. The Qianren Qiang (虔人羌34) led a large number to surrender andLongyou was pacified.In the 3rd month of the 1st Yongning year (120 AD), the Shendi Qiang (沈氐羌) invaded Zhangye.In the 6th month, the Shendi type of Qiang rebelled and invaded Zhangye. Ma Xian, the ColonelProtector of the Qiang, attacked and defeated the Shendi Qiang. In the same year, the ShaodangQiang also rose up.The Xianlian seem to have been operating out of Beidi in the area around northwestern Gansu,southern Ningxia and western Shaanxi. By contrast, these Shendi Qiang are attacking Zhangye,which is halfway along the Gansu corridor, north of today’s Qilian mountains. It doesn’t seem verylikely that they were closely connected with the Xianlian. In the next passage we see that theShaodang Qiang are also a problem in Jincheng which straddled the Gansu-Xining border south ofthe Qilian mountains. So the Han are dealing with a variety of possibly unrelated Qiang groupsscattered from Beidi to the Gansu corridor to today’s eastern Qinghai region.In the 8th month of the 1st Jianguang year (121 AD), Ma Xian, the Colonel Protector of the Qiang,attacked the Shaodang in Jincheng but was defeated.In the 7th month of the 1st Yanguang year (122 AD), the Qianren Qiang rebelled and attackedGuluo City.35 The Duliao General, Geng Kui attacked and defeated them. In the 11th month, theShaoguang Qiang chief36 surrendered.CHAPTER 6: 孝顺孝冲孝质帝纪第六 The Records of Emperor Shun (r. 125-144) andEmperor Di (r.145-146)In the first Yongjian year (126 AD) the Zhong Qiang (钟羌37) of Longxi rebelled and the ColonelProtector of the Qiang, Ma Xian, attacked and defeated them.In the 7th month of the 3rd year, the Zhong Qiang invaded Longxi and Hanyang. The ColonelProtector of the Qiang, Ma Xu, attacked and defeated them. In the 11th month, the Qiang of theagricultural garrison on the Wudu border and the Qiang outside the border both attacked anddefeated the officials of the agricultural garrison, driving out and plundering people andlivestock.In spring of the 4th year (129 AD), Ma Xian [now the Yezhe official], attacked and won a majorvictory over the Zhong Qiang.In the 2nd month of the 2nd Yonghe year (137 AD), the Chief Commandant of the Guanghan vassalstate attacked and defeated the Baima Qiang. [In Chapter One these Baima Qiang had submittedbut it was obviously a fragile peace.]In the 10th month of the 3rd year (138 AD), the Shaodang Qiang invaded Jincheng, the ColonelProtector of the Qiang, Ma Xian, attacked and defeated them and the Qiang then spurred oneanother on and rebelled. [This seems to be a variety of Qiang groups inciting each other.]In the 3rd month of the 4th year, Ma Xian attacked the Shaodang Qiang and won a major victory.34 虔人羌: the character 虔 can mean pious/devout. Whether this was a descriptive term or atransliteration of a Qiang word is difficult to know.35 谷罗城: I couldn’t find this location36烧光羌豪 This is the only ‘Shaoguang’ reference. It could be the chief’s name or the name of a relativelysmall clan. ‘Shaodang’ instead of ‘Shaoguang.’37 钟羌: ‘zhong’ can be a surname but is also a clock or a kind of goblet.
  • 7. In the 5th month of the 5th year, the Qiedong Qiang (且冻羌) invaded San Fu38 and killed thecommander. In the 9th month the Qiedong Qiang invaded Wudu and set fire to Long Pass (陇关).Julong Wusi [a Southern Xiongnu leader] enticed the Wuhuan in the east and the Qiang Hu39 (羌胡) in the west and invaded Shang commandery, establishing Che Niu as Shanyu. [I.e. an allianceof three significant non-Han groups.] Shortly after this, Che Niu was forced to surrender to theHan.In the 1st month of the 6th year (141 AD) Ma Xian, the Attacking the West General, fought theQiedong Qiang at Shegu mountain40 but Xian’s troops were routed and the head of Andingcommandery, Guo Huang, was imprisoned and died. The Gongtang Qiang 巩唐羌 invaded Longxiand then also invaded San Fu. In the 3rd month, the Wuwei commander, Zhao Chong, sent apunitive force against the Gongtang Qiang and defeated them. In the 5th month, the XiongnuZhonglang General, Zhang Geng, defeated the Wuhuan and the Qiang Hu at Tianshan. TheGongtang Qiang invaded Beidi. In the 9th month, various kinds of Qiang invaded Wuwei. Therewas a solar eclipse.In the 2nd year, Shanshan state [in today’s eastern Xinjiang] sent envoys with tribute. In the 4thmonth of the 2nd year (142 AD), the Colonel Protector of the Qiang, Zhao Chong, with theHanyang commander, Zhang Gong, attacked and defeated the Shaohe Qiang (烧何羌) in Can(?).41In the 10th month, Zhao Chong attacked and defeated the Shaodang Qiang in Ah Yang.42 There isalso a mention here of Linqiang county 临羌县 which was east of Qinghai Lake, near Xining.Linqiang means ‘overlooking the Qiang’ so it seems this was a significant border between the Hanand some Qiang.In the 3rd month of the 1st Jiankang year (144 AD), the Colonel Protector of the Qiang, Wei Ju,pursued and attacked the rebelling Qiang and defeated them. In the 4th month, the XiongnuZhonglang General, Ma Shi, attacked the southern Xiongnu of the left,43, and defeated them and,as a result, the Hu Qiang (胡羌) and the Wuhuan all came to Ma Shi and surrendered. Also inthat year, the Colonel Protector of the Qiang, Zhao Chong, pursued and attacked rebelling Qiangat Zhanyang River44 but he was routed.In the 2nd month of the first Yongxi year (145 AD), rebellious Qiang came to the Pingyi official ofthe Right (左冯翊), Liang Bing, and surrendered.38三辅: San Fu. In the Western Han the ‘San Fu’ were the three officials governing the capital and itssurrounding area. Later, the term ‘San Fu’ came to represent the regions controlled by these threeofficials. Although the capital moved from Chang’an to Luoyang, it seems San Fu continued to indicate thecentral area of today’s Shaanxi province.39 This juxtaposition of Qiang and Hu together seems sometimes to mean the Qiang and Hu, as inreferences where ‘Hu’ refers to the Yuezhi or Xiongnu, but it also sometimes seems just to be describingthe Qiang, i.e. the Qiang type of Hu. The character ‘hu 胡’ means beard or facial whiskers, so the use of thisterm for foreigners from the northwest may imply they were more hirsute than the Chinese. The Han Shushows a significant Qiang presence in Xinjiang in late BC which suggests possible Central Asianconnections.40射姑山: northwest of Qingyang county in Gansu. In ancient Beidi.41 Some versions of the text read ‘参 B171’ which indicates a missing or unknown character. Threepossibilities are Canxian 参屳, Canjie 参疖, or Cansi 參丝, all counties in Anding commandery.42 阿阳: Possibly in the region of Tianshui? Although it seems more likely to have been nearer to Jinchengaround the Qinghai-Gansu border.43 Left represented east and right represented west.44 鹯阴河: a stretch of the Yellow River near Baiyin, north of Lanzhou.
  • 8. CHAPTER 7: 孝桓帝纪第七 The Records of Emperor Huan (r.146-168 AD)In the 3rd month of the 2nd Jianhe year (148 AD), the Baima Qiang plundered Guanghan vassalstate and killed the senior official. The Yizhou governor led the Banshun Man45 to attack anddefeat them. [I.e. troops from another ethnic group in eastern Sichuan being used to attack Qianginvaders in or near northwestern Sichuan.]In the 12th month of the 2nd Yanxi year (159 AD), eight types of Shaodang Qiang46 rebelled andinvaded western Long (陇右). The Colonel Protector of the Qiang, Duan Jiong, pursued them andattacked them in Luo Ting and defeated them.India 天竺国 brought tribute.Early in the 3rd year (160 AD), the Shaohe Qiang rose up and invaded Zhangye. The ColonelProtector of the Qiang, Duan Jiong, pursued and attacked them, defeating them in Jishi.47 In the11th month of the 3rd year, the Leiqie Qiang (勒姐羌) surrounded Yunjie48 but Duan Jiongattacked and defeated them.In the 6th month of the 4th year, the Lingwu Qiang (零吾羌 – or Lianwu) and the various kinds ofXianlian together rebelled and invaded San Fu. The Yi of the vassal state Qianwei49 invaded androbbed the common people but the governor of Yizhou defeated them. In the 10th month, theXianlian and the Shendi Qiang and various kinds of Qiang50 invaded Bing and Liang provinces51but they were defeated the following month by the Zhonglang General, Huangfu Gui.In the 3rd month of the 5th year, the Shendi Qiang invaded Zhangye and Jiuquan. [There is nomention here that they were defeated.] In the 7th month, the Niaowu Qiang (鸟吾羌) invadedHanyang, Longxi and Jincheng, but the soldiers of the various commanderies attacked anddefeated them.In the 11th month, the Dianna Qiang (滇那羌)52 invaded Wuwei, Zhangye and Jiuquan [also nomention of defeat]. The senior military commander, Liu Ju, was dismissed and replaced [for notrepelling them].In the 7th month of the 6th year, the Longxi commander, Sun Qiang (陇西太守孙羌53) attackedand defeated the Dianna Qiang.45板楯蛮: an ethnic group from Ba prefecture in today’s eastern Sichuan.46 烧当: 8 different kinds of Shaodang Qiang suggests clans with blood-ties from the same ancestor. TheShaodang are the only group who have a documented ancestry tracing back to Wuyi Yuanjian. SeeChapter 117: The Western Qiang Biography.47 积石山:possibly the Anye Machen Mts in southeastern Qinghai, an eastern extension of the Kunlun Mts.This seems far from Zhangye but in Chapter 95 a fuller version of events explains that Duan Jiong pursuedthe Shaohe for 40 days.48 允街: in the Yongdeng area northwest of Lanzhou, towards Wuwei.49 犍为: in Sichuan’s Leshan area.50先零沈氐羌与诸种羌: although there is no ‘and’ between the Xianlian and Shendi, they are mentionedseparately elsewhere in the text. The occurrence of ‘various kinds of Qiang’ alongside specific groupssuggests there were groups not known by name which came under the umbrella term ‘Qiang.’51 并州 was on China’s northern border and included the commanderies of Beidi, Shuofang, Wuyuan,Yunzhong and others. 凉州 was west and southwest of Bing and included the eastern end of the Gansucorridor and the most western commanderies of Longxi, Jincheng and others. If this was a coordinatedattack on such a wide area it would have been on a very large scale.52 Possibly a tribe descended from Dian Lian of the Xianlian mentioned above. The 滇 character is in both.53 This name, ‘grandson + Qiang,’ suggests he was possibly a descendent of Qiang who had submittedearlier.
  • 9. In the 10th month of the 7th year, the Colonel Protector of the Qiang, Duan Jiong, attacked anddefeated the Dangjian Qiang( 当煎羌).In the 2nd month of the 8th year, Duan Jiong attacked the Hanjie Qiang (罕姐羌) and defeatedthem. In the 6th month Duan Jiong attacked and won a major victory over the Dangjian Qiang inHuangzhong.54In the 7th month of the 9th year, the Shendi Qiang invaded Wuwei and Zhangye. The Xiongnucommander was dispatched against the southern Xiongnu, the Wuhuan and the Xianbei. In the9th month, the state of Da Qin55 sent an envoy with tribute.In the 1st month of the 1st Yongkang year (167 AD), the Xianlian Qiang invaded San Fu and weredefeated and pacified by Zhang Huan, the Zhonglang General. The Dangjian Qiang (当煎羌)invaded Wuwei but the Colonel Protector of the Qiang, Duan Jiong, pursued and attacked themin Luanniao56 and won a major victory. The western Qiang were all pacified.57 In the 4th month,the Xianlian Qiang invaded San Fu. In the 10th month, the Xianlian invaded San Fu but theXiongnu Zhonglang General, Zhang Huan, was dispatched [by the Han] and attacked anddefeated them.CHAPTER 8: 孝灵帝纪第八 The Records of Emperor Ling (r.168-189 AD)In the 1st month of the 1st Jianning year (168 AD), the Colonel Protector of the Qiang, Duan Jiongattacked the Xianlian Qiang. In the 2nd month, Duan Jiong won a major victory over the Xianlianat Feng Yi Mountain.58 In the 7th month, the Defeater of the Qiang General,59 Duan Jiong, againdefeated the Xianlian at Jingyang.60In the 7th month of the 2nd year (169 AD), the Defeater of the Qiang General, Duan Jiong, won amajor victory over the Xianlian Qiang at Tiger Shooting Valley beyond the Wall.61 The EasternQiang (东羌62) were all pacified.There is a gap of 15 years before the next mention of the Qiang or Xianlian so this was a relativelylong period of peace considering the relentless fighting with the Qiang which had preceded it.In the 11th month of the 1st Zhongping year (184 AD), the Xianlian Qiang rose up in alliance withBeigong Boyu of the Yicong Hu63 of Huangzhong [the Xining area]. Two men of Jincheng, BianZhang and Han Sui, were appointed as military commanders and they attacked and killed theColonel Protector of the Qiang, Ling Zheng and the governor of Jincheng, Chen Yi.54 The area around the Huang River near Xining, Qinghai.55 大秦国王: Da Qin was the Han term for the Roman empire. During the Eastern Han period, the Parthianempire lay between the Roman Empire and China.56 鸾鸟: in the region of Wuwei.57 As seen in the following chapter, the Xianlian are now seen as eastern Qiang.58逢义山: northwest of Guyuan in Ningxia province.59 An interesting shift from being the Colonel ‘Protector of the Qiang’ to General ‘Defeater of the Qiang.’60泾阳: in the Xianyang area of Shaanxi (not far from Xi’an).61 射虎谷: Gangu to the west of Tianshui in Gansu.62 This is one of the earliest references to the Eastern Qiang and seems to relate primarily to the Xianlian.They had been moved east by the Han from the Jincheng area in Qinghai to Tianshui, Longxi and Fufeng(Gansu and western Shaanxi). After this, Dian Lian of the Xianlian was made ‘emperor’ in Beidi. From thismore eastern area they continually pushed in all directions – south to Hanzhong (near the juncture oftoday’s Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces), west to Jincheng and the Gansu corridor, and further eastin Shaanxi.63 义从胡北宫伯玉: possibly a Yuezhi or another type of Qiang. (See: A Biographical Dictionary of LaterHan to the Three Kingdoms (23–220 AD) by Rafe de Crespigny, Brill, 2007, pp 14-15.)
  • 10. In the 11th month of the 2nd year (185 AD), the Zhonglang General, Dong Zhuo, was sent to attackthe Xianlian Qiang but he was unsuccessful. The Xianbei invaded the provinces of You and Bing幽州, 并州.CHAPTER 9: 卷九孝獻帝紀第九 The Records of Emperor Xian (r. 189-220 AD)In the 8th month of the 1st Xingping year (194 AD) The Pingyi64 Qiang (冯翊羌) rebelled andinvaded Shu county 属县.65 Guo Si and Fan Chou attacked and defeated them.From Chapter 10 onwards the chapters are ordered by topic rather than in chronological sequence.Chapter 10: 卷十上 皇后紀第十上 The Records of the Imperial ConsortsIn the 1st Jiankang year (144 AD), the Western Qiang, the Xianbei, and the Rinan Man Yiattacked and plundered the cities, taxes were often levied, and the officials and peoples wereexhausted.This mention of the Qiang within an overview of mid-2nd century AD China indicates that they werethe major threat in the west. The Xianbei were in the north and east, and the Rinan Man Yi were inwhat is now Vietnam.A brief mention of an Attacking the Qiang Marquis: 征羌侯Chapter 21: 志第十一 天文中 The Astronomy Records (II)In the 1st Jianchu year (76 AD), Song Yan, the Chief Pacifier of the Yi, was killed by the Qiang. Thegovernor of Wuwei, Fu Yu, ordered the Colonel Protector of the Qiang and the General ofCavalry and Chariots to march against the Qiang.In the 9th month of the 9th Yongyuan year (97 AD) the Longxi Qiang rose up, and the Attackingthe West General, Liu Shang, and the Yueqi Colonel, Zhao Shi, sent the northern army of Wuxiao,Liyang and Yongying, as well as Hu 胡66 border troops – altogether 30,000 cavalry - to attack theWestern Qiang.An army of 30,000 is not sent to deal with minor skirmishes. These Western Qiang, most probably atemporary alliance of various Qiang-type groups, were a huge problem for the Han.Chapter 23: 志第十三 五行一 The Five Elements (I)67Around the 1st Jianguang year (121 AD), there was excessive rain in the capital (Luoyang) and intwenty-nine commanderies, which damaged the crops. At that time the Qiang were rebellingand there had been no peace for a long time. The common people are in garrisons and there isno way of relieving their distress.64冯翊: Can be pronounced Fengyi or Pingyi. According to the Baidu encyclopaedia it would be Pingyi here. . Northeast of Xi’an, in the Weinan region.65 Possibly a county in Shaanxi but this could also just mean ‘vassal counties.’66 i.e. other non-Chinese from the northwest. Most likely Xiongnu or Yuezhi who had submitted to the Han.67 The ‘Wu Xing’ were the five elements (metal, wood, water, fire, earth) or the five constant virtues(benevolence, righteousness, propriety, knowledge, faith).
  • 11. In the Yuanjia period (151-153 AD) of Emperor Huan, the various Qiang of Liangzhou68 all roseup and moved south into Shu69 and Han and also plundered San Fu to the east, extending to Bingand Ji, which was a great disaster for the people.Chapter 24: 志第十四 五行二 The Five Elements (II)At the end of the first Yongchu year (107 AD) the rebellious Qiang of Liangzhou caused extremeharm and all the commanderies of Liangzhou were temporarily governed from Pingyi andFufeng.Sometimes the Qiang rose up, mainly to invade and do harm. This went on for more than 10years without cease – causing bitter military service for the soldiers.Moving the administration of the Liangzhou commanderies as far east as Pingyi and Fufeng –today’s Weinan and Baoji areas in Shaanxi – indicates a massive retreat by the Han from control ofnorthwestern China and shows how powerful the Qiang groups were when they formed allianceswith each other. In the same year as the start of the Qiang rebellion (107 AD), the Han also decidedto abandon the Western Regions, today’s Xinjiang, which meant that Liangzhou was thewesternmost extent of Han control. This weakening of Han power in the west would have givenhope to the Qiang and other non-Chinese living in Liangzhou that they could regain independence.In the Yanguang period of Emperor An (122 - 125 AD), the Qiang Hu beyond the bordersrebelled.Chapter 26: 志第十六 五行四 The Five Elements (IV)In the 9th Yongyuan year of Emperor He (97 AD) there was an earthquake in Longxi. The Qiangbeyond the borders violated the borders, killing officials and others. The Attacking the WestGeneral, Liu Shang, attacked them.In the 1st Yongchu year (107 AD), there were 18 earthquakes across the commanderies. … Atthat time, empress dowager Deng was acting as regent, … and when she died Emperor An had totake over so the ‘Yin types 阴类’ combined to gain victory and the Western Qiang caused chaosin China for over 10 years. In the 2nd year there were 12 earthquakes. In the 12th month of the3rd year there were 9 quakes. In the 3rd month of the 4th year, there were 4 quakes. In the 1stmonth of the 5th year there were 10 quakes. In the 2nd month of the 7th year, there were 18quakes.In the 10th month of the 3rd Yonghe year (138 AD), 2,000 Western Qiang crossed over theJincheng border in order to harm Liangzhou.70In the 1st Yuanxing year (105 AD) the Western Qiang launched a major invasion in Liangzhou.68凉州: Liangzhou was a strategically crucial province. Chapter 33 below gives a list of the commanderiesin Liangzhou, which covered eastern Qinghai and the whole of the Gansu corridor reaching west to theborder with today’s Xinjiang and the routes to Central Asia and south to Wudu which bordered Guanghan.Guanghan was the most northwestern commandery of Yizhou, on today’s northern border of Sichuan.Once the Xiongnu had been driven out of the Gansu corridor, the various Qiang groups constituted themajor threat to Han trade and expansion via this area.69 I.e. northern Sichuan.70骑入金城塞: it is difficult to know which direction they were coming from but it seems likely they wereentering Jincheng from further south or west in Qinghai, which was territory beyond Han control.
  • 12. Chapter 33 志第二十三 郡国五 Political zones (V)This chapter lists the commanderies of each province and other geographical details:Yi Province (益州)71 contained the commanderies of :Hanzhong, Ba, Guanghan, Shu, Qianwei, Yuesui, Yizhou, Yongchang, Guanghan vassal state, Shuvassal state, Qianwei vassal state. Guanghan and Hanzhong were the most northerly.Liang Province (涼州)72 contained the commanderies of:Longxi, Hanyang, Wudu, Jincheng, Anding, Beidi, Wuwei, Zhangye, Jiuquan, Dunhuang, Zhangyevassal state, Zhangye Juyan vassal state.Wudu commandery73 had seven districts74, one of which was called Qiang Dao: the Qiangdistrict (羌道).Jincheng had ten districts, one of which was called Linqiang: ‘Overlooking the Qiang’ (临羌).Linqiang is the only entry with the added description: It has the Kunlun Mountains.75Jincheng also had a district called Poqiang: ‘Defeating the Qiang’ (破羌)Chapter 42: 王刘张李彭卢列传第二76 The Biography of Wang, Liu, Zhang, Li, Peng and LuAt the end of the Wang Mang period77 someone called Wen Bo initiated military action with theQiang Hu of the San Shui vassal state78 but Han troops under Emperor Gengshi79 responded andpacified the area westwards from Anding. Gengshi was then defeated and the San Shui chiefsconsulted together, … and established Fang as Senior General and King of Western Peace andsent envoys to the Western Qiang and the Xiongnu to cement an alliance with them.In the 16th Jianwu year (40 AD), Fang presented a grateful memorial to Emperor Guang, the firstemperor of the Eastern Han dynasty, saying that he had been entrusted with Wang Mang’sremains and had disposed of them on the borders. He describes the period of Wang Mang as atime of waste and despair, causing people anxiety, so it is right that [Wang Mang) should bepunished because he connected with the Qiang in the west and had a close relationship with theXiongnu in the north.Chapter 45: 卷十五 李王邓来列传第五 The Biography of Li, Wang, Deng and LaiThis chapter mentions Qiang who had submitted to the Han and were protecting the borders,based in walled camps.71 All these commanderies would be within Sichuan today except for Hanzhong which is in southwestShaanxi, bordering Sichuan.72 See n.67 above73 Wudu was west of Hanzhong, covering roughly southern Gansu and the northern tip of Sichuan aroundRuo’ergai/Zoige.74 The character used is 城 which means a walled city but it seems to indicate a bigger area here.75 Linqiang was in the area of Huangyuan between Xining and Qinghai Lake. However, if it included part ofthe Kunlun Mountains it must have covered extensive territory. This reference to the Kunlun may refer totoday’s Qilian range which could have seemed to be an extension of the Kunlun in southern Xinjiang.However, it may possibly refer to the Anye Machen range south of Xining.76 The absence of commas in lists is common, which emphasises the difficulty of phrases such as 羌胡which can mean Qiang and Hu or just Qiang Hu.77 Wang Mang ruled the Xin Dynasty (9-23 AD) between the Western and Eastern Han periods.78 This was in Anding 安定, a commandery east of Jincheng and south of Beidi.79 Emperor Gengshi (更始帝), whose name was Liu Xuan (劉玄), reigned only from 23-25AD between theend of Wang Mang’s Xin Dynasty (9-23 AD), which had succeeded the Western Han, and the beginning ofthe Eastern Han dynasty under the rule of Emperor Guangwu, whose name was Liu Xiu.
  • 13. At the beginning of the Wang Mang era, many of the Qiang enemy (羌虏80) rose up but Kui Xiaoappealed to their chiefs and was then able to use them in his service. After Xiao died, … thevarious kinds of Wuxi and Xianlian81 invaded and plundered, and their camps were protected byramparts (or trenches) so the provinces and commanderies could not attack them. Lai Xitherefore made large implements for attack and led Gai Yan, Liu Shang, and the Taizhong Daifu,Ma Yuan, to advance and attack the Qiang in Jincheng. They won a significant victory, beheadingseveral thousand Qiang, taking more than 10,000 cattle and sheep, and several 100,000 hu ofgrain. ... so Western Long was then at peace and there was once again access to Liangzhou.This shows how important it was to keep those Qiang who had surrendered satisfied. Jincheng wasan absolutely key commandery, straddling northeastern Qinghai and the southern part of theeastern entrance to the Gansu corridor. This reference also tells us (a) how rich this Qiang areawas in livestock and grain and (b) that the Qiang were willing to risk being beheaded and losingtheir livestock in battles to keep/regain their grazing grounds and agricultural land. It raises thequestion of how these surrendered Qiang viewed the agreement with the Han. Did they agree to‘protect the border’ because it enabled them to continue using the area for their livestock? Was thesubmission forced or voluntary?Chapter 46: 卷十六 鄧寇列傳第六 The Biography of Deng and KouThe four main characters mentioned in this chapter are Deng Yu 邓禹, his sixth son Xun 训, hisgrandson Zhi 骘, Kou Xun 寇恂, and his great-grandson Rong 荣.The section below is an excellent example of Han interaction with the various groups. It shows howthe Yuezhi, a relatively small group, sometimes switched allegiance between the Qiang and theHan, and how important it was for the Han to hold their allegiance. It highlights the enmitybetween different Qiang groups and yet their ability to unite when the need arose and produce afighting force of 40,000.In the 2nd Zhanghe year (88 AD) the Colonel Protector of the Qiang, Zhang Yu Xiu, put to deathMi Wu of the Shaodang type of Qiang (烧当种羌迷吾) and as a result all the Qiang were furiousand plotted revenge, so the imperial court was very anxious. The high ranking officials held ameeting and chose Xun to replace Yu. All the Qiang were stirred up in anger and resolved thefeuds among themselves, forming alliances through marriage and swearing oaths of allegianceby exchanging hostages. The allied Qiang forces numbered more than 40,000. They crossed theriver to attack Xun. Earlier, the Xiao Yuezhi Hu [小月氏胡] had separated to live within theborders and they had 2-3000 cavalry who were strong, brave and powerful. Whenever theyfought the Qiang, they could control many people with just a few. Although their leaders oftenvacillated, at that time they were also serving the Han. At that time, Mi Wu’s son Mi Tang formeda military alliance with the Wuwei type of Qiang and reached the border with 10,000 cavalrybut they didn’t dare to attack Xun until they had coerced the Yuezhi Hu into joining them, … ButXun ordered the Yuezhi not to fight. The Han officials discussing the situation all thought it wasbetter for the county officials if the Qiang and Hu fought each other, and for Yi to be used toattack Yi,82 so this should not be prohibited [i.e. Xun should let the Yuezhi fight the Qiang]. Xunsaid: “I disagree. Now Zhang Yu has broken his promise, the Qiang hoards are on the move, wehave the expense of transporting provisions, the state treasury is exhausted, and the Liangzhouofficials have little control over the counties. Originally, because the various Hu were difficult tounderstand, there was little trust or kindness [shown to them]. Now because of this oppressionand anxiety, it would be better to treat them with virtue and kindness.” Xun then gave the orderto open the towns and the gates of their dwellings and bring the wives and children of the Hu80羌虏: ‘Lu’ can mean captive/prisoner but seems also to simply mean ‘enemy.’81五溪、先零诸种.82夷: this is evidence that ‘Yi’ was an even broader term than Qiang, generally referring to foreigners.
  • 14. into them, and set up good defence around them. The Qiang plunderers didn’t get what they hadhoped and they didn’t dare to coerce the various Hu, so they dispersed. As result of this, thevarious Hu of Huangzhong [the Xining region] all said: “the Han family wanted to fight with us,today Deng’s administrator83 treats us with favour and trust, opening the gates for our wivesand children, so we have gained parents.” … Xun then trained up several hundred brave youngYuezhi men, who were known as the Yicong.84It was a custom of the Qiang Hu that to die of sickness was a disgrace so whenever they were soill that they might die, they would kill themselves with their blade. When Xun heard there werethose who were seriously ill, he would restrain them from killing themselves and make surethey received medical treatment and many were cured so everyone was delighted. As a result,the Qiang were attracted with good things and drawn over to the Han. Mi Tang’s uncle, Hao Wu,then came from beyond the border to surrender to the Han with his mother and 800 households.Because of this,85 Xun sent 4,000 of the Qin, Hu, and Qiang soldiers of Huangzhong out beyondthe border to mount a surprise attack on Mi Tang in Xie Valley, where they beheaded over 600of the enemy [Mi Tang’s men] and took over 10,000 horses, cattle and sheep. Mi Tang thenmoved to Great and Small Elms,86 settling in the steep-sided rocky valleys, and his people splitup and scattered.That spring, Mi Tang again wanted to go back to his old lands so Xun sent 6,000 Huangzhongtroops, with Ren Shang in command of them.87 They made boats of sewn leather and crossed theriver, launching a surprise attack on the settlements of Mi Tang’s main chiefs, beheading andcapturing many. They again pursued them and the Qiang fled but Ren Shang and his men wereattacked at night by the Qiang, so the Yicong88 Qiang and Hu joined forces [with Ren Shang] todefeat them, beheading about 1800, taking captive 2,000 people and more than 30,000 horses,cattle and sheep, so that they were almost wiped out. Mi Tang then gathered his remainingtroops and moved his nomadic settlement far away, going more than 1000 li westwards.89 Thevarious small groups of the adjacent settlements all rebelled against him. The Shaodangcommander, Dong Hao, kowtowed and then went back and died and the remainder all ‘knockedon China’s borders’ and were received by China with hostages given as a guarantee.In the 2nd Yongyuan year (90 AD), Major General Dou Xian led troops to suppress Wuwei. Heordered Xun to let him know the plans of the Qiang Hu and submitted a request that they all go.Xun had initially been favoured by the Ma clan and wasn’t particularly close to the variousmembers of the Dou line, so Dou Xian punished him with death and he couldn’t escape thismisfortune.A memorial to Xun follows: Although Xun was lenient with the Rong hordes, he was very strictwith his own family and all his brothers respected him, … Officials, common people, and theQiang and Hu held him in high esteem, with thousands coming to see him day and night. Thecustoms of the Rong: when their parents die, it is a shame to weep with grief and they all ridetheir horses and sing and shout. When they heard that Xun had died, they all shouted aloud,some cutting themselves with knives, and also killing their dogs, horses, cattle and sheep, saying,“Deng’s administrator is already dead, we too have all died.”83 The characters here are 使君 which meant the same as 刺使 – a provincial level administrator.84 义从: Yicong - righteous and obedient. These were a well-trained group of non-Chinese fighters underHan supervision in the Huangzhong area, including some Yuezhi, some Qiang, and possibly others.85 Presumably because Hao Wu’s defection made Mi Tang weaker and more vulnerable.86 The Guide region of Qinghai, south of Xining.87 The 长史 Zhangshi – some kind of high position serving the prime minister and other high officials andgenerals.88 See n.6589 Literally about 240 miles, but ‘1000 li’ may be non-specific and simply mean very far away.
  • 15. Xun’s death was a sad loss of someone willing to use negotiating tactics rather than force tocommunicate with the Qiang and other groups. Although Mi Tang remained at large, he hadmoved far from the Han border and been severely weakened by the submission of other Qiang tothe Han, so Xun’s tactics had been quite successful.There is one more reference in this chapter to the great Qiang uprising which began in 107 ADwhich is mentioned in detail in chapter 117 – the Biography of the Western Qiang.Chapter 48: 卷十八 吴盖陈臧列传第八 The Biography of Wu, Ge, Chen and ZangIn the 27th Jianwu year (c.51 AD), Gong and the Yangxu Marquis, Ma Wu, submitted a memorialto the emperor saying, “The Xiongnu are corrupt and profit-seeking, have no etiquette, andwhen they are poor they kowtow but when they are content, they invade and plunder and theborders are suffering their poison. China is worried about withstanding their attacks.90They suggest telling the Gaogouli, Wuhuan and Xianbei to attack the Xiongnu on their easternside, and send the Qiang Hu of the four commanderies of Hexi and of Tianshui and Longxi toattack them on the west. In that way, the northern enemies will be eliminated within a few years.This is a very helpful reference showing that the Qiang of this period were in the Hexi corridor andTianshui and Longxi, which altogether represented today’s eastern Qinghai and much of Gansuexcept the most southerly and easterly parts. Traditionally the four Hexi commanderies were thosein the Gansu corridor: Wuwei, Zhangye, Jiuquan and Dunhuang.91Chapter 49: 卷十九 耿弇列传第九 The Biography of Geng and YanI have omitted references in this chapter to someone called Fan Qiang 范羌, who was a militaryofficer with the Han.Part of this chapter concerns the defeat of the Xiongnu. The ‘Attacking the West’ General, GengBing, garrisoned Jiuquan; Qin Peng and the Yezhe officials, Wang Meng and Huangfu Yuan, weresent to Zhangye, Jiuquan, and Dunhuang commanderies, along with the Shanshan troops, acombined force of more than 7000 men, and in the 1st month of the 1st Jianchu year (75 AD),they met in Liuzhong92 and attacked Jushi,93 attacking Jiaohe City, beheading 3,800, capturingmore than 3,000, as well as 37,000 camels, donkeys, horses, cattle and sheep. The northernenemy [the Xiongnu] fled in fear and Jushi once again surrendered to the Han.… In autumn of the following year (76 AD), the Qiang of Jincheng and Longxi rebelled. Gonginformed the emperor of his strategy, and an imperial edict summoned him to discuss the stateof affairs. Then Gong sent five field officers with 3,000 men, and together with Ma Fang, the90 According to Liu Xinru, the Xiongnu “did not intend to occupy farming lands but only to loot or extractbooty from Han rulers.” Liu Xinru, “Migration and Settlement of the Yuezhi-Kushan: Interaction andInterdependence of Nomadic and Sedentary Societies,” Journal of World History 12, no. 2 (Fall 2001), p263.91 At this point the Jincheng region (eastern Qinghai) was included in Longxi commandery. Jinchengcounty had been established in 86 BC as part of Tianshui commandery. Jincheng commandery wasestablished in 81 BC. It was merged with Longxi commandery in 36 AD but was re-established in thereign of Emperor Ming (57-75 AD). In 110 AD, during the Western Qiang uprising, Jincheng wasdominated by the Qiang so the Han commandery administration retreated from Yunwu (between Minheand Yongdeng) to Xiangwu (in today’s Longxi county, Gansu), only moving back to Yunwu 12 years later. Near today’s Shanshan in Xinjiang.93 Also sometimes written as Cheshi. The Jiaohe ruins in the Turpan region of Xinjiang are the remains ofthe ancient capital of Jushi.
  • 16. deputy General of Cavalry and Chariots, they attacked the Western Qiang. Gong stationed histroops at Fuhan and several times engaged in battle with the Qiang. In autumn of the followingyear,94 the Shaodang Qiang surrendered, Ma Fang returned to the capital and Gong was left toattack the ones who had not yet surrendered, beheading or capturing more than 1,000 andtaking more than 40,000 cattle and sheep. Then the Leijie and Shaohe Qiang (勒姐、烧何羌), 13groups numbering several 10,000, all came to Gong to surrender.This is an enormous number of people for the Han to suddenly have to deal with.Chapter 52: 卷二十二, 朱景王杜马刘傅坚马列传第十二 The Biography of Zhu, Jing, Wang,Du, Ma, Liu, Bo, Xian and MaIn the 25th Jianwu year (49 AD), the Western Qiang invaded western Long, destroying the wholearmy and killing the General, which caused great anxiety at the imperial court. Wu was thenappointed as Seizing the Enemy General, and with other senior military officials, he led theWuhuan, the Liyang battalion, the enlisted soldiers of San Fu, and the Qiang Hu soldiers andconscripted convicts of the various Liangzhou commanderies, altogether 40,000 men to attackthe Western Qiang. When they reached Jincheng, a vast and resolute army, they went into battleagainst the Qiang, beheading 600. They also fought at Luodu Valley95 but were defeated by theQiang, with more than 4,000 dead. The Qiang then led their multitudes out beyond the borderand Wu again went in pursuit of them and reached Eastern and Western Han [邯96] where hewon a major victory over the Qiang, beheading 4,600, capturing 1,600, with the remaindersurrendering and dispersing. Wu returned victorious with his troops to the capital. Sevenhundred families were added to his fiefdom, which already numbered 1,800 households. Hedied in the 4th Yongping year (60 AD).This is a useful reference: non-Chinese Qiang Hu men in Liangzhou were serving as troops for theHan court – fighting against Western Qiang troops who had obviously caused devastation andmust have been a huge threat if 40,000 troops were amassed against them.Chapter 53: 卷二十三, 竇融列傳第十三 The Biography of Dou Rong97This chapter on Dou Rong and his descendants shows the Qiang covering a vast extent of territoryfrom the Gansu corridor down to southeastern Qinghai and up to areas in the northwest. It alsoshows how far those who had submitted to the Han had to go on military expeditions. Althoughthere is clearly cooperation between the Qiang and Han, the massive Qiang uprising of 107 AD wasto show how superficial and tenuous much of this cooperation must have actually been.Dou Rong’s great grandfather had once been governor of Zhangye, a great uncle had beenColonel Protector of the Qiang and a cousin had been governor of Wuwei, so his family had beenin the Hexi corridor for many generations and Dou Rong was familiar with the local customs. Heis quoted as saying to his brothers: “No-one knows how dangerous things may be in the empireat the moment, but Hexi is a prosperous area, the river is reliable, Zhangye vassal state has cracktroops (and) 10,000 cavalry, and whenever there is a dangerous crisis, any enemy can bestopped at the river ford, which is enough defence in itself, …” His brothers all agreed with him.94 It is interesting to note that battles were often fought in the autumn when horses had been wellpastured and were at the peak of health.95雒都谷: most likely in the Ledu area east of Xining.96邯: Although this character nowadays relates to a place in Hebei, in this context it was south of theHualong area of Qinghai, southeast of Xining towards Xunhua, which, according to this passage, wasbeyond Han control.97 16 BC – 62 AD. In the chaos of Wang Mang’s reign, before Emperor Guangwu came to power, Dou Ronghad been commander of Zhangye vassal state, which was north of Zhangye.
  • 17. So Dou Rong…became commander of Zhangye vassal state, moving his family members west.Once he arrived he fostered excellent relations, nurturing peace with the Qiang Lu (enemies),even winning their favour, and Hexi harmoniously submitted to his supervision.This is very revealing regarding the location of some Qiang: Zhangye vassal state was north ofZhangye and although the Qiang seem to have been scattered along the Hexi corridor, it seemslikely that some were actually in Zhangye vassal state.At that time Liang Tong, the governor of Jiuquan, Ku Jun, the governor of Jincheng, Shi Bao, thecommander of Zhangye, Zhu Zeng, the commander of Jiuquan and Xin Rong, the commander ofDunhuang, combined their skilled men and Dou Rong viewed them with favour. Gengshi wasdefeated and Tong discussed the situation with these Hexi corridor leaders, saying,“Everywhere in the empire is in chaos at the moment, … Hexi is isolated among the Qiang (and)Hu.98 If we don’t unite we won’t be able to defend ourselves….” He then suggests choosing oneperson as Major General, uniting the five commanderies99 and watching to see how things weregoing to develop in the empire. The others agreed with this but modestly declined to be themain leader and … Rong became the Major General of the five commanderies of Hexi. At thattime, the governors of Wuwei and Zhangye considered themselves too isolated andunsupported so they resigned their posts (removed their Han seal and silk ribbons) and left.Then Liang Tong [the governor of Jiuquan] became the governor of Wuwei, Shi Bao [thecommander of Zhangye] became governor of Zhangye, Zhu Zeng became governor of Jiuquan,Xin Peng became governor of Dunhuang, and Ku Jun became governor of Jincheng. Rong lived inthe Zhangye vassal state, holding the office of commander as before, and establishedsupervision of the five commanderies. The customs of the people of Hexi were simple andunpretentious and Dou Rong and his people governed with tolerance. The upper and lowerranks had good relationships and there was peace and prosperity. The troops were trained,practising fighting and shooting, setting up warning beacon towers and when the Qiang (and)Hu100 violated the borders, Dou Rong would always personally lead the various commanderiesin saving each other. After that, the Xiongnu invaded…the Qiang Hu who were defending thepass were all afraid and surrendered [to the Xiongnu] and an unending flow of (Han) exiles fledback to Anding, Beidi and Shang commandery, away from the violence and the hunger.…In earlier times, the emperor heard that Hexi was extremely rich territory which adjoinedLong and Shu101…In the time of Emperor Gengshi (23-25 AD), Feng He of the Xianlian Qiang, with various groups[of Qiang], killed the governor of Jincheng and occupied his commandery. Kui Xiao sent anenvoy to bribe Feng He to form an alliance… Dou Rong attacked Feng He and defeated him,beheading 1,000, and taking 10,000 cattle, horses and sheep, and several 10,000 hu of grain…In summer of the 8th year (of Emperor Guangwu: 32 AD) Dou Rong led several 10,000 foot andcavalry soldiers of the governors of the five commanderies and of the Qiang Lu and Lesser98 This suggests that the Qiang were the dominant non-Chinese presence in the four prefectures of theHexi/Gansu corridor, along with some Xiao Yuezhi and possibly still some Xiongnu.99 Dunhuang, Jiuquan, Zhangye, Wuwei, and Jincheng.100 The use of ‘Qiang Hu’ rather than specific groups of Qiang, such as the Leijie or Xianlian for example,may indicate new arrivals or it may just be an umbrella term for northwestern non-Chinese nomads ofthis period. It seems that there were Qiang living in the five commanderies who were appreciative of DouRong, but other Qiang beyond the borders who were ‘the enemy.’ It is unclear whether they were comingfrom the Western Regions beyond Dunhuang or coming over today’s Qilian from western Qinghai.101地接陇,蜀: this is an interesting note. If the Hexi region adjoined Long (central Gansu) and Shu (part ofSichuan) it must have extended down through Jincheng (eastern Qinghai) to the northwestern Sichuanborder. However, as Hexi essentially means ‘west of the river’ it was possibly a loosely defined term.
  • 18. Yuezhi (羌虏小月氏) with a large amount of food supplies and met with the main army… theyyielded to the emperor and the head of each commandery was given an Eastern Han title andDou Rong, also honoured, went back west to his garrison.Emperor Guangwu, founder of the Eastern Han dynasty, clearly commanded more respect andwielded more power than his predecessors, Wang Mang and Geng Shi, regaining a degree of Hancontrol over the Gansu corridor.Sometime around 44 AD, one of Dou Rong’s relatives, named Lin, became Colonel Protector ofthe Qiang but in the second Yong Ping year (58 AD) Lin was executed for his crimes – asexplained in the Biography of the Western Qiang.In about 72 AD, Gu [a relative of Dou Rong] and someone called Zhong, led soldiers of Jiuquan,Dunhuang and Zhangye as well as the Lu Shui Qiang Hu,102 12,000 cavalry, out of the borderbeyond Jiuquan, and Geng Bing and Qin Peng led recruited soldiers and Qiang Hu from Wuwei,Longxi and Tianshui, 10,000 cavalry, beyond the border at Juyan.103 Also Zhai Rong, the Taipuofficial, and Wu Tang, the Duliao General, led Qiang Hu and troops of the Southern XiongnuShanyu of the area northeast of the river and west of the river, 11,000 cavalry, out of Gao QueSai104 … The following year, Jushi surrendered to Gu… Gu remained at his post on the bordersfor several years and the Qiang Hu responded to his kindness and trustworthiness.Dou Xian was a descendant of Dou Rong and in the Yongping era (57-75 AD) he was out offavour with the empress dowager and was afraid he would be killed so to redeem himself heasked to be sent to attack the Xiongnu. His troops against the Xiongnu included Qiang Hu. Andthe following year, the troops of the Duliao General, including ‘8,000 Yicong Qiang Hu cavalry’105went beyond the border at Guyang.106Chapter 54: 卷二十四 马援列传第十四 The Biography of Ma YuanIn the 9th Jianwu year (33 AD), Ma Yuan was appointed ‘Taizhong Daifu’ and his deputy Lai Xisupervised the various generals in pacifying Liangzhou. From the end of the Wang Mang periodthe Western Qiang had invaded and settled within the borders, especially in many of the vassalcounties of Jincheng.This indicates a significant increase in Qiang inhabitants in western Gansu and eastern Qinghai. Itis unclear which borders they were crossing into China, but the following paragraph mentionsQiang being defeated at Lintao, which was east of Qinghai Lake so the above paragraph could beQiang entering from the direction of Xinjiang and/or from southeastern Qinghai. If they werecoming from Xinjiang, it’s possible that they were some of the Erh Qiang mentioned in the Han Shualong the southern rim of the Tarim Basin102卢水羌胡: Although the Lu Shui are noted as of Qiang stock here, they were also at times referred tojust as Lu Shui Hu 卢水胡 and, according to a Baidu entry, originally included Xiongnu and Yuezhi andgradually absorbed people of other groups including Chinese, Qiang and others. This strongly suggeststhat the term Qiang Hu served as a broad umbrella for various groups. Juyan Lake, now a wetland area rather than a lake, was in what is now western Inner Mongolia nearthe eastern border of Xinjiang, so these troops were quite a distance from Tianshui etc. From 2 nd C BC to8th C AD, although somewhat northerly, it was viewed as part of the Gansu Corridor.104高闕塞 ‘the pass of the high watchtowers’ – in the region of the Urat plain in Bayan Nur, Inner Mongolia,on the northernmost bend of the Yellow River.105 See n.84 and n.39 above. We know that the Yicong included Qiang and Yuezhi so there is a strongpossibility that the phrase ‘Qiang Hu’ at times included Yuezhi who lived in areas inhabited by the Qiang.106 The Baotou area of Inner Mongolia
  • 19. In the 11th year (35 AD) Ma Yuan was appointed governor of Longxi and he sent 3,000 foot andcavalry soldiers and defeated the Xianlian Qiang at Lintao, beheading several hundred andcapturing more than 10,000 horses, cattle and sheep. More than 8,000 Qiang who wereguarding the border came to Ma Yuan to surrender. There were several 10,000 of their type ofQiang who were invading and raiding and they were holding Haomen Pass.107 Ma Yuan and theYangwu General, Ma Chen, attacked them. Because the Qiang had moved their wives andbaggage to Yunwu Valley,108 Ma Yuan sneaked along between the paths to their camp. The Qiangwere greatly alarmed and fled far away to Tangyi Valley,109 but Ma Yuan pursued them andattacked them there. The Qiang gathered their crack troops together at Bei Shan.110 Ma Yuanand Ma Chen’s troops moved towards the mountain and detached several hundred cavalry tomake a surprise attack from behind, taking advantage of the dark to start fires, beating drumsand shouting loudly. The Qiang fled in all directions, with more than 1,000 beheaded. Ma Yuandid not have enough soldiers to pursue them so he took their livestock and grain and retreated.He was wounded by an arrow, the emperor expressed his appreciation and awarded himseveral thousand cattle and sheep, ...At this time, the court councillors wanted to abandon Jincheng west of Poqiang,111 because itwas distant and there was too much plundering. Ma Yuan said, “… west from Poqiang the townsare very sturdy, so they are very reliable and solid and the land there is fertile and well-irrigated.The situation is like todays Qiang in Huangzhong, who constantly cause trouble, but the areashould not be abandoned.” The emperor agreed with this and sent an edict to the governor ofWuwei, to order all the Chinese who had left Jincheng to go back there. Three thousand wentback, each returning to where they had lived before. Ma Yuan applied to the emperor to install ahigh official there and repaired the city walls, built trenches, straightened out the irrigated fields,gave advice on tilling and pasturing, and the people of the commandery were happy in theirwork. He also sent the Qiang chief, Yang Feng Pi, to speak to the Qiang beyond the borders andthey all came amicably. The Di people of Wudu rebelled against Gongsun Shu [a warlord of Shu,based in Chengdu], and came to surrender. Ma Yuan rewarded them with honours. The emperormade Ma Yuan a general when he heard of this.In the thirteenth year [37 AD], the Canlang Qiang of Wudu and the various kinds beyond theborders, invaded and killed the high official.112 Ma Yuan attacked with more than 4,000 men, asfar as Didao county.113 The Qiang were in the mountains and Ma Yuan’s army occupied theconvenient territory and seized their pasture land but didn’t engage the Qiang in battle. TheQiang were left in dire poverty. Their chiefs and several 100,000 households fled beyond the107(诣种有数万,屯聚寇抄,拒浩亹隘) There is a Haomen Pass, to the east of Ledu county, near Minhe.In the time of Wudi, there were agricultural garrisons from Haomen to Linqiang, i.e. stretching along theHuang River valley from today’s Qinghai-Gansu border to near Qinghai Lake.108允吾: between today’s Minhe and Yongdeng in the Qinghai-Gansu border area.109 唐翼谷: Thought to be west of Ledu county, Qinghai. 北山: North Mountain. Possibly Huzhu county north of Xining – in the foothills of the eastern end of theQilian Range.111 破羌: ‘Defeating the Qiang.’ This was the name of a county established in the Western Han period, inthe Ledu region of Qinghai.112 This is an interesting alliance. Wudu, the location of the Canlang Qiang (武都参狼羌), borderedGuanghan in the south (northern Sichuan), Longxi in the north and Hanzhong in the east (Sichuan-Gansu-Shaanxi border) but beyond the narrow border in the west was non-Han territory of southeasternQinghai close to the Anye Machen Range, which may well be where these various kinds of Qiang beyondthe border were located. As seen in the next sentence, many thousands fled across the borders to escapeMa Yuan, so they were most likely fleeing west into the Anye Machen area and southeastern Qinghai.113 氐道县:south of Tianshui in Longxi commandery.
  • 20. borders, with more than 10,000 of the various kinds surrendering, so Longyou was peaceful andquiet.This was an effective but cruel strategy, cutting the Qiang off from the land they were using fortheir livestock. It is clear from various chapters that their livestock often numbered thousands ofsheep, cattle and horses. For them to lose their pasturelands and be restricted to only mountainareas would have made life impossible, as evidenced by the flight of some and submission of others.It seems likely that these mountains were in southwestern Gansu, so those who fled may have gonetowards the Anye Machen Range.A speech further down the page, gives a brief summary of the 35 AD conflict with the XianlianQiang: “Ma Yuan was appointed envoy to the west by imperial order to suppress and comfort thepeople in the border regions, so he recruited some outstanding men, knowing it would enticethe Qiang Rong (羌戎), scheming like a bubbling spring, …then he rescued the collapsingcounties…preserving the settlements that had been abandoned. Whole divisions of soldiersadvanced, and because of the grain from the enemy, Long and Ji114 were pacified, just guardingan empty commandery. The troop movements were successful and the commanders advancedand were victorious. They hardly eliminated any Xianlian because the Xianlian went into themountain valleys and fought ferociously with all their might and an arrow pierced Ma Yuan’sshin.”In the 2nd Jianchu year (77 AD), the Qiang protecting the borders of Jincheng and Longxi allrebelled.115 Thirty thousand troops were sent against them. The army arrived in Ji116 but theQiang chief, Bu Qiao, and his men surrounded the commander of the southern troops in Lintao.Ma Fang wanted to save him but the road to Lintao was dangerous and vehicles and horsescould only go two abreast, so Fang chose two generals with several hundred cavalry andseparated them into an advance and rear army and set up camp about 10 li from Lintao, withmany banners on wooden poles, letting it be known a great army was about to advance. Whenthe Qiang chiefs saw this, they galloped back and said that the Han soldiers were many. On thenext day, the Han troops advanced making a great uproar and the Qiang enemy fled in fearbecause they were being pursued and defeated. More than 4,000 were beheaded and the siegeof Lintao was broken. Ma Fang offered mercy and the Shaodang kind of Qiang all surrendered.Only Bu Qiao and more than 20,000 people went southwest of Lintao to Qugu.117 In the 12thmonth, the Qiang again defeated Minister of War, Geng Gong, and the head official of Longxi atHeluo Valley, killing several hundred.In spring of the following year, Ma Fang sent Sima Xia Jun ahead from Dadao with 5,000 people,and then secretly sent Sima Ma Peng with 5,000 soldiers on a bypath to attack their strategicposition. He also ordered the troop commander, Li Diao and his men to surround them on thewest, so that the three would attack together. They defeated them again and beheaded morethan 1,000 people, taking more than 100,000 cattle and sheep (no mention of horses). TheQiang retreated and Xia Jun went after them and they were defeated. Ma Fang then led hissoldiers to do battle in Western Suo and also defeated them. Bu Qiao was then under pressureand anxious so he led more than 10,000 of his kind to surrender.114冀: Wushan area west of Tianshui. See n.20 above.115This rebellion of Qiang ‘guarding’ the border seems to have been quite a frequent occurrence andshows how easily the balance could be upset by ill treatment, heavy taxes, or enticement by Qiang groupsbeyond the border.116冀 See n.19 above.117曲谷: ‘Crooked Valley.’ Nowadays there is a Qiang area called Qugu in Maoxian county in Sichuan’s Abaprefecture. It is common for names to travel with people as they migrate – as seen in more recent historywith New York, Boston and many other place names.
  • 21. Ma Fang was a real favourite of the emperor …he was ill but recovered and again pacified theWestern Qiang. He was rewarded with a further 1,350 households… Ma Fang also had manyhorses and much livestock and he levied taxes on the Qiang Hu. The emperor was unhappyabout this (the heavy taxes), …. so Fang’s power was somewhat decreased.Chapter 58: 卷二十八上 桓谭冯衍列传第十八上 The Biography of Huan, Tan, Fengand YanThis chapter just has a couple of brief but descriptive references:Firstly in a speech: “…the Qiang, like their ancestors, were tough and upright and able to endurehard times. (行劲直以离尤兮,羌前人之所有)Secondly, a line which seems to be saying that the Qiang realised their own (cultural)impoverishment and then adopted Han culture. (盖隐约而得道兮,羌穷悟而入术)Chapter 60: 卷三十上 苏竟杨厚列传第二十上 The Biography of Su Jing and Yang HouIn the third Yangjia year (134 AD), the Western Qiang invaded western Long and the next yearthe Wuhuan encircled the Duliao General, Geng Ye.In this chapter various problems are being discussed in sequence. The Qiang problem isincluded in the fifth issue on the list:The 5th issue: …The court councillors feared that after the start of autumn,118 the regions of Zhao,Wei, and Guanxi119 would suffer the scourge of Qiang plundering and uprisings. So they shouldprepare in advance and tell all the commanderies to respectfully instruct the people, not lay aheavy corvee burden on them, not tax them heavily, ... prepare guards, choose talented andvirtuous people, in order to suppress and pacify them [the Qiang].It had obviously been seen that good treatment of the Qiang was better than oppression.Chapter 61: 卷三十一 郭杜孔张廉王苏羊贾陆列传第二十一 The Biography of Guo, Du,Kong, Zhang, Lian, Wang, Su, Yang, Jia and Lu.This chapter has an interesting reference to a prosperous place called Guzang,120 where there wasexchange of goods with the Qiang Hu.118 This seems to have been a favourite time for the Qiang to attack – when their horses had beenstrengthened by the abundance of the summer pastures and there were ample supplies for the men.119关西: ‘west of the pass.’ In this context, the pass was likely to be Tong Pass in the Weinan region ofShaanxi.120 姑臧: Guzang, a non-Chinese word. This was apparently in the Wuwei area. It became the capital of theFormer and Latter Liang states in the 4th century AD. In ‘Indo-Scythian Studies: Being Khotanese Texts Volume VII,’ pp 18-19, (Cambridge University Press, 2009), H. W.Bailey mentions a vihara college being founded by the Queen of Guzan. In ‘The culture of the Sakas inancient Iranian Khotan’ (Bibliotheca Persica. Columbia Lectures on Iranian Studies, No. 1. Caravan Books,1982, p57), Bailey had originally thought that Guzan was in the vicinity of Qinghai Lake but he laterrevised this to north of Turpan. John Hill suggests Guzan was in the Kucha area (quoted in Doug Hitch,“The Special Status of Turfan,” Sino-Platonic Papers, 186, March, 2009, p12). Bailey suggests ‘Guzan’ maybe an Iranian name from the Yuezhi. It seems possible that there is some connection between ‘Guzang’ (aChinese transliteration) and Guzan in Khotanese Saka. Bailey mentions that the vihara college was called‘Ermono,’ the adjective in Iranian from ‘Erma.’ He also gives a Khotanese Saka reference to ‘woollen clothbeing carried to the people of Erma.’ It may just be coincidence but ‘erma’ is the autonym used by today’sQiang in Aba Prefecture, Sichuan. (There are perhaps echoes of Guzan in Afghanistan’s Ghazni provinceand in Guzana in northeastern Syria.)
  • 22. In the 8th Jianwu year (32 AD) … everything was chaotic, and only Hexi was quiet… Guzangbecame known as a wealthy settlement, with trade of goods with the Qiang Hu and on marketday people came from all around,…In the mid Yongchu period [107-113] the Western Qiang invaded Ba commandery121 and causedtrouble for the locals. An edict was sent to the Zhonglang General to attack them but oversuccessive years he could not overcome them. Tang was made governor of Ba commandery. Hetook soldiers to fight the ‘thieves’ [i.e. the Qiang], beheaded more than 1,000, and Ba and Yong[commanderies] were peaceful.Chapter 72: 卷四十二 光武十王列傳第三十二 The Biography of the Ten Kings ofGuangwuIn the Yongchu period (107-113 AD), the Qiang were still not peaceful over in the west, whichcost the empire more than 20 million ‘cash.’In the Emperor Shun era (125-144 AD), the Qiang Lu often rebelled, incurring great expense...Chapter 76: 卷四十六 郭陳列傳第三十六 The Biography of Guo and ChenThis chapter gives a general comment that in Bing and Liang provinces (并州, 凉州) the QiangRong were rebelling.122 Liang province stretched from eastern Qinghai and southwestern Gansuup into the Gansu corridor. It bordered Bing province in the northeast and Bing extended up to theYellow River in Inner Mongolia, bordering the Gobi desert, so these Qiang Rong were scatteredover a wide area.Chapter 77: 卷四十七 班梁列傳第三十七 The Biography of Ban (Chao123) and Liang(Jin)The first Qiang reference is a brief mention of the rebellious Qiang invading San Fu andsomeone called Xiong leading five battalions of soldiers to garrison Chang’an.The following section highlights just how much damage the Qiang rebellion of 107 - 118 AD did,cutting off Han access to the Western Regions, which then allowed the Xiongnu to reassert theirinfluence over the states of the Western Regions. Yong’s speech comes shortly after the Qiangrebellion had been suppressed and there is a possibility of the Han regaining influence in theWestern Regions.In the 6th Yuanchu year (119 AD), the governor of Dunhuang, Cao Zong, sent the ‘zhangshi’official, Suo Ban, to lead more than 1,000 people to garrison Yiwu [today’s Hami]. The king ofNearer Jushi and the king of Shanshan both came and surrendered to Ban. A few months later,the Northern Shanyu [Xiongnu leader], together with the king of Further Jushi, attacked andwiped out Ban and his forces and then advanced and attacked the king of Nearer Jushi, planningto control the northern region. The king of Shanshan was worried and asked Cao Zong to savehim so Zong asked for permission to take 5,000 men and attack the Xiongnu, to avenge Ban’shumiliation and to retake the Western Regions. Empress dowager124 Deng then summoned Yong121 Northeastern Sichuan.122 Still a variety of terms used: Qiang Hu, Qiang Rong, Qiang Lu…123班超. 33 – 102 AD. Ban Chao’s father, older brother and sister were the authors of the Qian Han Shu. Hebecame ‘Protector General of the Western Regions’ having regained the Western Regions in the 1 stcentury AD but Chinese influence in the area diminished after his death in 102 AD.124 In the Han period, the term ‘taihou 太后’, often translated as ‘empress dowager,’ was also a title for themothers of feudal vassals and kings. It seems these women often wielded considerable power.
  • 23. to court to discuss the situation. In the beginning, many of the high-ranking officials thought itbetter to close the Yumen Pass and to abandon the Western Regions but Yong submitted hisopinion:“In former times Emperor Wu suffered from the Xiongnu who were strong and flourishing, andat the same time there were 100 Man (蛮) exerting pressure on and obstructing the borders. Sohe opened the Western Regions, … breaking off the right arm of the Xiongnu. Then Wang Mangusurped the throne, … and the Hu and Yi (胡夷) were angry and rebelled. Then, in therestoration (of the Han) under Guangwu, there was no time for external affairs, so the Xiongnuwere strong again and exerting their power over various states. By the Yongping period(Emperor Ming: 57-75 AD), they again attacked Dunhuang and the various commanderies ofHexi, so the city gates were closed in the daytime. Emperor Ming … then ordered his braveministers to lead an expedition to the Western Regions, so the Xiongnu fled far away and theborders were peaceful. By the Yongyuan period (Emperor He: 89-105 AD), everyone came tosubmit. In the period of the Qiang upheaval, the Western Regions were again cut off (107 ADonwards), and the Xiongnu took advantage of this to extort tribute from the states who wereonce again cut off from Han influence. Shanshan and Jushi were both very resentful, thinkingpositively towards the Han [in contrast with the Xiongnu] but with no way to connect withthem. … In the past, Dunhuang commandery had a battalion of 300 soldiers, and today it wouldbe good to restore that, and establish an assistant Colonel Protector of the Western Regionsliving in Dunhuang, as was the situation in the Yongyuan period [which ended in 105 AD, justbefore the major Qiang rebellion began in 107 AD]. It would also be good to send a WesternRegions chief ‘zhangshi’ officer to lead 500 people to garrison Loulan, serving as a pathway toYanqi and Qiuci (Kucha) further west and to strengthen the will and courage of Shanshan andYutian in the south, resist the Xiongnu in the north and get closer to Dunhuang in the east. Thiswould be the most advantageous way.”Liang Jin was from Beidi commandery. … In the 1st Yanping year (106 AD), he became assistantColonel of the Western Regions. He moved to Hexi and at that time the various states of theWestern Regions rebelled and attacked Ren Shang, the Protector General of the WesternRegions, in Shule (Kashgar). Ren Shang sent a request for help and Liang Jin was ordered to lead5,000 Qiang Hu cavalry from the four Hexi commanderies [Wuwei, Jiuquan, Zhangye andDunhuang] to go quickly to his assistance. Before Liang Jin could get there, Ren Shang hadalready got free. … Ren returned and he and another Western Regions official were replaced byDuan Xi and Zhao Bo, who were stationed guarding Tagancheng,125 which was small and LiangJin thought it couldn’t be strengthened so he deceived the king of Kucha, Bai Ba, wanting toenter his city and protect it with him. Bai Ba allowed him in. The officials and peopleremonstrated with Bai Ba but he wouldn’t listen…and he sent his high officers to welcome Xiand Bo, with their combined army of 8-9,000. Then the officials and people of Kucha rebelledagainst their king, and with Wensu and Gumo126 they rose up, several 10,000 soldiers, andtogether surrounded the settlement (of Kucha). Liang Jin and his men came out [from Kucha] tofight and soundly defeated them. A succession of soldiers came over several months, and theHu127 multitudes were defeated and fled. The Han troops went after them and beheaded morethan 10,000, and took several 1,000 captive, as well as taking several 10,000 camels and otherlivestock/animal products. Then Kucha was pacified. However, the route was still cut off. … Thehigh officials discussed the situation and thought the Western Regions were inaccessible and faraway, several settlements had rebelled and there was the never-ending expense of maintainingthe officials and the agricultural garrisons. In the 1st Yongchu year (107 AD) the position of chiefadministrator of the Western Regions was terminated and the Chief Cavalry Commandant,125 它干城: thought to be near Kucha, Xinjiang.126 These were also settlements in Xinjiang127 This seems here to be the people of Kucha who had rebelled against their king.
  • 24. Wang Hong sent the soldiers of Guanzhong to welcome Liang Jin, Duan Xi and Zhao Bo, as wellas the officials of the Lu and Liao agricultural garrisons in Yiwu (Hami).This was a massive retreat from what is now Xinjiang, pulling back to Guanzhong which wasaround the Wei River valley in Shaanxi.However, in the spring of the 2nd Yongchu year [108 AD], they returned to Dunhuang. When theQiang masses rebelled, the court sent many troops west to attack them and Liang Jin wasretained to provide military aid for the armies. Liang Jin reached Rile128 in Zhangye. More than10,000 of the various kinds of Qiang attacked ‘Tinghou’129 killing and robbing the minor officialsand people. Liang Jin advanced with his soldiers and attacked and defeated them, pursuing themto Zhaowu,130 and the enemy scattered, (with only 12 or 13 able to break away?). Then theywent to Guzang131 and more than 300 Qiang chiefs came to visit Liang Jin to surrender. He set asympathetic example and allowed them to go back to their old territory and the fourcommanderies of Hexi were again peaceful.Liang Jin then received an order to manage the garrison at Jincheng. He heard that the Qiangwere on the move to invade San Fu and were approaching the imperial tombs, so he promptlyled soldiers to attack them. The fighting moved to Wugong132…. Liang Jin was wounded as hewent into battle but despite that he continued to attack, taking as many prisoners and as muchlivestock as possible, including a large amount of possessions. The Qiang then fled and scattered.The court was delighted by this, and … Liang Jin was entrusted with the affairs of the west andmade the official in charge of all the armies.In the 5th Yongchu year (111 AD), Anding, Beidi, and Shang commanderies were all invaded bythe Qiang, and the nobles of the valleys moved away, unable to maintain their positions. LiangJin was ordered to send border soldiers to welcome the governors of the three commanderiesand the generals, officials and people were sent to live on the edge of Fufeng.133 Liang Jinimmediately sent the Southern Shanyu (Xiongnu) and his brother Yougu Tunu to lead his troopsto welcome them. After he returned, Liang Jin … appointed Tunu as ‘Qiang marquis’ with a Hanseal and silk ribbon but this was done without authorisation so Liang Jin was imprisoned andpunished. … When the rebellious Qiang invaded San Fu and the brigands of Guanzhong rose up,Liang Jin was given the post of Yezhe official and led his troops against them. When theyreached Hu county,134 he fell ill and died.Chapter 78: 卷四十八 杨李翟应霍爰徐列传第三十八 The Biography of Yang, Li, Zhai,Ying, Huo, Yuan and XuIn the third Yanguang year (124 AD), Zhai Ying went to serve as Jiuquan governor. More than1,000 rebellious Qiang riders moved to Dunhuang to plunder the borders of the commanderyand Zhai Ying went to attack them, beheading 900. The Qiang were almost finished off, whichshook their confidence. He then became mayor of the capital.In the 2nd Zhongping year (185 AD), the Hanyang brigands, Bian Zhang and Han Sui joined withthe Qiang Hu and went east to invade San Fu and at that time the General of Cavalry andChariots, Hou Fu Song, went west to attack them. Song asked for permission to send 3,000128 West of Yongchang in the Gansu corridor.129 亭侯: this usually means some kind of feudal lord but is possibly a place name here?130昭武: west of Zhangye in the region of Linze131 See n.120 above.132 Possibly today’s Wugong county just east of Xi’an, Shaanxi.133扶风: Baoji area, west of Xi’an on the Gansu-Shaanxi border.134胡县: possibly a place name but possibly just ‘the counties of the Hu.’
  • 25. Wuhuan fighters. The Marquis of the northern army, Zou Jing, submitted, “The Wuhuan hordesare weak, so it would be good to enlist the Xianbei.” … Han Zhuo thought, “The Wuhuan soldiersare few and they have been enemies of the Xianbei for generations, so if the Wuhuan are sent,the Xianbei will make a surprise attack on their homes. If the Wuhuan hear of this, they willagain desert the army and go back to save their homes. …This is an interesting insight into how the Han had to balance their relationships with the variousnon-Chinese groups in the border regions. The discussion continues with Shao Bo who highlightsthe dangers of using one group to resist another. Here the Xianbei have been invited to fightagainst the Qiang but have then taken advantage of this invitation to oppress the local people and,moreover, the Xianbei haven’t dealt with the Qiang so the situation is worse than before.Shao Bo said, “The Xianbei are separated on the north of the Gobi desert with their herds of dogsand sheep, with no commander-in-chief as ruler, living in temporary settlements and by naturethey are corrupt and violent, with no sense of honour, therefore they often violate and block thepasses, so there has been no peace for a long time. … In the past the Xiongnu rebelled and theDuliao General Ma Xu, and the Wuhuan Colonel, Wang Yuan, sent 5,000 Xianbei cavalry and thegovernor of Wuwei, Zhao Chong, also led Xianbei to attack the rebellious Qiang. … but theXianbei were increasingly excessive and many behaved lawlessly. … They raided the people,robbed the travelling merchants, stole livestock… and because their rewards were great, theyweren’t willing to leave, wanting again to exchange their goods for iron. … Today the craftyinvaders (i.e. the Xianbei) have not been destroyed and the Qiang are still causing enormousdamage, … The officials stupidly think it’s possible to recruit the Qiang Hu of Longxi as gooddefenders who won’t rebel, but will simply be excellent and brave, reliable and admirable.Governor Li Can calmly has a plan, but he will have to reward evil to gain the military force [ofthe Qiang].The final Qiang reference in Chapter 78 emphasises how beneficial it was to have officials whowere culturally adaptable and sensitive:Shi Jun was the governor of Jincheng. He was intelligent and broadminded as well as sincere andmagnanimous. He was able to use favour and trust to deal with those of different customs andhe was greatly esteemed by the Qiang Hu.Chapter 81: 卷五十一 李陈庞陈桥列传第四十一 The Biography of Li, Chen Chan, Pang,Chen Gui and QiaoEarly in the chapter there is a useful description of the Western Regions:The Western Regions are very prosperous with many precious gems, and the rulers and the Huofficials and merchants of these various vassal states often presented Li Xun with slave servants,Yuan horses,135 gold and silver, and fragrant ‘Ji’ cloth.136 The Northern Xiongnu frequently cut ofJushi (nr Turpan) and Yiwu (Hami) in the Western Regions so missions were not able to go westbeyond the sands of Long (陇沙). Li Xun set up rewards and then beheaded the commander ofthe enemy (i.e. the Xiongnu), hanging his head at the entrance to the military camp. From thenon the road was smooth and clear and power and kindness went hand in hand.Xun then became the governor of Wuwei but he was dismissed for some misdemeanour andreturned to his native place, living in seclusion in Shanze,137 making a hut from grass, … When135宛马: this is the character used in 大宛 Ferghana, so these are probably the famous Ferghanan horses.136罽: Ji was a kind of woollen fabric.137山泽: A place name? The literal translation is ‘mountain swamp/marsh,’ two words which seemtopographically incompatible.
  • 26. the Western Qiang rebelled, Xun reached Tianshe138 and was captured by them. The Qiang hadoften heard his name so they released him. … He died aged 96 years old.In the first Yongchu year (107 AD), the Xianlian type of Qiang in Liangzhou rebelled and DengZhi, the General of Chariots and Cavalry, was sent to fight them. Pang Can made his son Jun writesaying: “At present, the refugees are in uproar in the western provinces and there are endlessmilitary expeditions, endless floods, and the soil has lost its fertility. The strong ones are in themain army, the exhausted ones are in the distant garrisons, agricultural harvests disappear inthe grain transports and wealth is all used up in the military expeditions. Farmland is notcultivated, there is no income from crops, and (people are) impoverished with no hope of aharvest in the autumn. Life has become intolerable for the common people. The officials stupidlythink they can transport grain across 10,000 li, moving far away towards the Qiang Rong, notlike the garrison commander supporting his people, caring for his exhausted ones. Deng Zhi, theGeneral of Chariots and Cavalry, should for the time being bring the army back, and leave RenShang, the Attacking the West Colonel, to oversee the people of Liangzhou, and move to live inSan Fu….Another quote also mentions the trouble being caused by the Qiang Rong and a large armystationed in the west.In the 4th Yongchu year (110 AD), the Qiang invaded and flourished, soldier expenses wereincreasing daily, … and Can wrote to Deng Zhi saying, “In recent years the Qiang invaders haveexerted a lot of pressure on Longyou…. Externally we have the damage inflicted by the Qiangand internally we have the pressure of heavy taxation.”It is clear at this juncture that the losses inflicted by the Qiang rebellion were making manyofficials consider withdrawing from the western regions.In the first Yuanchu year (114 AD), Can became the Colonel Protector of the Qiang and therebellious Qiang appreciated his kindness and trust. The following year, many of the Shaodangtype of Qiang surrendered and began to return to their old capital at Lingju,139 opening the Hexiroute. At that time, the Xianlian Qiang chief took upon himself a title in Beidi, an action seen asillegal by the Han. Can was ordered to lead 7,000 men of the surrendered Qiang and the YicongHu of Huangzhong140 and to meet the Attacking the West General Sima Jun in Beidi and attackthe Xianlian. Can was defeated by the Qiang on the road. Since he was already late [because ofthis defeat], Can pleaded sickness and led his soldiers back. He was punished for feigningsickness and was imprisoned. [He was later pardoned.]When the Qiang Hu invaded the borders, they killed the high officials, driving out andplundering the people. Emperor Huan (146-168 AD) ordered Gui Shi to have a good knowledgeof the border customs and made him Duliao General.Chapter 84: 卷五十四 杨震列传第四十四 The Biography of Yang and ZhenThis chapter just has one reference which again emphasises that the Qiang were exacting aterrible toll on the Han empire. The speech is by someone called Zhen Fu, around the 2nd Yanguangyear (123 AD):138 田舍 This can mean ‘farmhouse’ or ‘peasant family’ but is possibly a place name here.139令居: northwest of Yongdeng in Gansu. This was the seat of the Colonel Protector of the Qiang in theHan dynasty.140 See n.84 above.
  • 27. Zhen Fu had heard that in the old days in nine years of harvest there had to be three years ofreserves, so when Yao141 encountered floods, the people didn’t starve. Zhen Fu considered that“in the calamities which have arisen in this present time, which are even more severe, thecommon people are exhausted and unable to provide for themselves. There are the problems ofagricultural pests and locusts, the Qiang enemies are plundering, we are shaken and harassedon three sides. Those doing combat service are never able to rest and we cannot maintain theexpenses of military equipment and army provisions.”Chapter 86: 卷五十六 张王种陈列传第四十六 The Biography of Zhang, Wang, Zhongand ChenGao became governor of Yizhou. It was his habit to be generous, rewarding meritorious service.When he had been governor for 3 years, he proclaimed kindness to the distant Yi andproactively sought to understand their different customs. And the varied settlements of the MinMountains142 all yielded to Han culture (virtue). The various states of Bailang (white wolf),Panmu, Tangzou, Qiong, and Bo143 had all cut themselves off after their earlier governor, Zhu Fu,died. When Gao arrived he again proposed that they come back into relationship with the Han.Later, the Liangzhou Qiang were on the move and Gao was made governor of Liangzhou, andbecame much liked by the common people there. He had to leave for (a military expedition) butthe officials and people requested of the emperor that he be allowed to stay. Tan’s mother144said “I have never heard of a governor winning people’s hearts in this way.” And he was allowedto stay… Gao again stayed one year and was then transferred to be governor of Hanyang. TheRong Yi 戎夷145, both men and women, accompanied him to the Hanyang border. Gao thankedthem, … When he reached the commandery, he transformed the behaviour of the Qiang Hu andstopped their invading and plundering.When the Xiongnu invaded Bing and Liang provinces, Emperor Huan promoted Gao to theposition of Duliao General. When he arrived at his camp, Gao first let his policy of kindness andtrust be known in order to tempt the various ‘Hu’ to surrender. There were some who wouldn’tobey so then he (discussed things further). In earlier times the Qiang Lu had had hostages146 inthe commanderies and counties, and these were all returned. In response to Gao’s sincerity ofheart and with the rewards of trust very clear, the Qiang Hu, Kucha, Shache (Yarkand), and theWusun147, all came to submit. Gao then removed the beacon towers and watchposts and theborder regions were peaceful with no alerts.Chapter 88: 卷五十八 虞傅盖臧列传第四十八 The Biography of Yu, Fu, Gai and ZangThe first Qiang reference in this chapter precedes a major discussion on whether or not to abandonLiangzhou during the major Qiang rebellion which began in 107 AD:141 A legendary emperor of ancient China142岷山: the Min Range runs from southern Gansu into northern Sichuan. “The Minshan covers parts of sixcounties and 19 nature reserves and is populated by close to one million Han, Tibetan, Qiang, and Baimapeople.”白狼、盘木、唐菆、邛、僰. Some of these may have been in areas now populated by Qiang. In the Hanperiod the majority of the Qiang were spread across Gansu, Qinghai and into Ningxia.144 See n.124 above.145戎夷: presumably including the Qiang of Liangzhou.146 Hostages sent to court as a guarantee of good relations between the Han and their neighbours. I amnot clear about the full meaning of 生见获质.147 This is an interesting juxtaposition of the Qiang Hu alongside the people of Kucha (along the northernTarim route) and Yarkand/Shache (in southwestern Xinjiang) and the Wusun people.
  • 28. In the 4th Yongchu year (110 AD), the Qiang Hu rebelled and caused devastation in Bing andLiang provinces. Major General Deng Zhi used military conscripts to keep expenses down butthis didn’t solve the problem and he wanted to abandon Liangzhou and pool all his forces on thenorthern border, so he met with the high-ranking officials to discuss the situation.However, Xu then argued that if Liangzhou was abandoned, the border would be San Fu and ifthe border was San Fu, the imperial tombs would be alone outside, which was totallyunacceptable. Yan then also argued against abandoning Liangzhou because while the Han stillhad influence there, the Qiang Hu wouldn’t dare to seize and occupy San Fu. I.e. Liangzhou wasfunctioning as an important buffer zone protecting the interior. Yan commented that the peopleof Liangzhou were playing an important role in this as a kind of vanguard, so if their territorywas abandoned, many people would have to be moved, and these people were attached to theirland and unwilling to leave, so they would make subversive plans. He agrees with Xu that the‘gradual cancer’ of the Qiang problem has no boundaries and that it would be a very ill-conceived plan to abandon Liangzhou. Xu commented on how difficult the current situation wasfor the people of Liangzhou: they were harassed and unsettled.As a result of this discussion, the courageous men who had opened up the western provincesserved as aides and subordinates and the brothers and sons (or male relatives) of the provincialmagistrates and high officials became ‘Lang’ officials, in order to console them. [Deng Zhi’s malerelatives didn’t agree with Xu’s point of view so there was still some tension.]The next reference is a good description of the trouble the Qiang were causing as they tried toadvance eastwards.Later, the Qiang invaded Wudu and empress Deng (Deng’s mother148), seeing that Xu had thestrategic ability to be a commander-in-chief, had him moved to become governor of Wudu. …The Qiang then led several thousand and hid from Xu in Chencang and in Xiao Valley,149 so Xuhalted his army and didn’t advance but let it be known he had asked the Emperor for moresoldiers and was waiting for them to be sent. When the Qiang heard this they separated andplundered the nearby counties. Because the Qiang fighters were scattered, Xu advanced day andnight, a forced march of more than 100 li. He ordered the local government officials to eachmake two fires, so these were multiplying by the day, and the Qiang didn’t dare to close in onthem. Xu explains that although a long forced march was not an advocated military strategy, inthis case it was justified, because they were seriously outnumbered by the Qiang multitudes, sohe had to use an unorthodox strategy.When Xu and his forces reached the commandery, he had less than 3,000 soldiers and the Qiangnumbered more than 10,000. The Qiang attacked and encircled Chi Ting150 for ten days. Xu thenordered those in his army using strongbows not to shoot and then stealthily fired arrows fromsmall crossbows. The Qiang thought the arrows were weak and couldn’t reach them so theirfighters rushed in to attack. Consequently, Xu ordered 20 strongbow archers together to shootat one person and they all hit their target. The Qiang were terrified and retreated. Because ofthis Xu went out of the town on the offensive and many were injured and killed. The next day, hedisplayed all his troops, ordering them to go out of the eastern gate of the city wall, and come inthrough the northern gate, changing clothing, and passing through several times. The Qiangdidn’t know how many there were and were even more afraid to move. Xu was calculating thatthe ‘thieves’ [i.e. the Qiang] would retreat, so he stealthily sent 500 men to set an ambush insome shallow water, waiting for the Qiang to pass along the road. As expected, the Qiang made a148 邓太后149 These are in the area of Baoji on the border between Shaanxi and Gansu, so these Qiang, havinginvaded Wudu, have moved quite far east.150 赤亭: Red Pavilion. Northwest of Cheng county, Gansu and southwest of Baoji.
  • 29. major retreat, having been defeated by this surprise attack. A large number were beheaded orcaptured, so the ‘thieves’ scattered in defeat, fleeing south into Yizhou.151 Xu then occupied thisterritory and built 180 walled camps, attracting back those who had fled away from the area,providing for the poor, and the commandery was then at peace.Later, Xie was made ‘Yilang’ official. At that time the Western Qiang were rebelling, Bian Zhangand Han Sui were causing chaos in Longyou and there were military expeditions throughout theempire. There was endless forced labour and taxation. The Situ official, Cui Lie, believed thatLiangzhou should be abandoned. He convened a meeting with the high officials and resolved tospeak first. Xie spoke to him severely…and was rebuked but the emperor asked him to explain.Xie replied: “….Today Liangzhou is a major crossroads in the empire and is the nation’sdefensive border. When Gaozu came to the throne, … the territory was opened up and the fourcommanderies were established with a view to cutting off the right arm of the Xiongnu. Today,those pasture land defences are not at peace, causing the whole province (of Liangzhou) to be inrebellion, and the whole country is consequently restless and upset. … If we allow those ‘Lu’who wear barbarian clothes buttoned on the left side152 to occupy this territory, … it will causedeep distress to the whole nation. If Cui Lie doesn’t understand this, he truly has his head in thesand. I know it, therefore I am saying it, and I am not being disloyal.” The emperor agreed withXie.…Xie was good at sympathising with people, so the rebellious Qiang appreciated his kindnessand came to surrender and he set up agricultural garrisons over an extensive area and a line ofmore than 40 camps.In the 1st Zhongping year(184 AD153) the Beidi Qiang Hu, along with Bian Zhang, invaded andcaused trouble in Longyou…This next section offers an insight into ancient Qiang protocol:…The Qiang surrounded the Colonel Protector of the Qiang, Xia Yu, in Xuguan.154 Xun joinedforces with the provincial commandery troops to save Yu. They reached Hupan155 and weredefeated by the Qiang. Xun gathered the remaining hundred or so men … The Qiang crack-cavalry came and attacked and many soldiers died. Xun was wounded but held fast and pointedto a tree saying “You must bury my body here.” This sentence, according to the Dianwu type ofQiang,156 showed Xun’s generous character, so they used soldiers to protect his people saying:“This leader is a virtuous man, If you kill him you will be going against heaven/God.” Xun, faceupwards, cursed them saying, “Death, you rebellious enemies, what do you know? Hurry andkill me!” The people looked at each other in surprise. Dianwu dismounted from his horse to151 Although much of Yizhou was in today’s Sichuan, it also included Hanzhong (in Shaanxi), which wassouth of Cheng county, so it may be that the Qiang moved south into the Hanzhong area rather thanactually into Sichuan at this point. Either way, the area south of Cheng county is in the border regionwhere Shaanxi, Gansu and Sichuan now meet.152 This is a rare descriptive reference. See “Textiles from the Silk Road: Intercultural Exchanges amongNomads, Traders, and Agriculturalists “by Angela Sheng for an example of one of these garments. Also see “Notes on theYuezhi - Kushan Relationship and Kushan Chronology”, by Hans Loeschner for a Yuezhi example of thesame type of garment. This was the beginning of what is known as the Liangzhou Rebellion, which lasted from 184-189. Itwas initially a Qiang-instigated rebellion but then Lesser Yuezhi and Han rebels joined the Qiang andthere was a determined struggle for independence in Liangzhou.154 畜官: place name? Or livestock related?155 狐盘 – I haven’t managed to locate this.156种羌滇吾: Dianwu was a descendant of the Shaodang Qiang.
  • 30. assist Xun but Xun wasn’t willing to get up (on the horse), so he was carried by the ‘thieves’ (theQiang). The Qiang Rong were influenced by his righteousness and courage and did not dare toharm him but sent him back to Hanyang.Chapter 90: 卷六十上 马融列传第五十上 The Biography of Ma RongIn the 2nd Yongchu year (108 AD), … the Qiang Lu stirred up a whirlwind, harassing the borders.The price of rice and grain leapt up and the region west from the passes was facing starvation.In the 2nd Yangjia year (133 AD)… the Western Qiang rebelled and Ma Xian, the Attacking theWest General, and Hu Chou, the Colonel Protector of the Qiang, mounted a military expeditionagainst them, but the troops were delayed a long time and couldn’t advance. When Ma Rongfound out his general faced defeat he went all out to plead for him saying: “Today these variousmixed race Qiang157 are encouraging each other to come plundering and thieving. We shouldstop their alliances, rapidly sending forces deep into their territory and destroying their branchgroups. If not, Ma Xian and his people will be stuck. The Qiang Hu are watching every sign ofmovement within 100 li and have their ear to the ground within 1000 li.158 If they get wind thatwe have gone into hiding and fled to escape capture, they will for sure invade San Fu and it willbe disastrous for the people. I would like to request 5,000 troops from east of the pass … wemust overcome and destroy them (the Qiang). …”The court didn’t agree with Ma Rong but … soon after, the Longxi Qiang rebelled and theWuhuan invaded Shang commandery, and they all died [Ma Xian and his men], just as Ma Ronghad said.Chapter 95: 卷六十五 皇甫张段列传第五十五 The Biography of Huangfu, Zhang Huanand Duan Jiong.Although the main Qiang chapter in the Hou Han Shu is the Biography of the Western Qiang (Ch117), this chapter is also very significant regarding the Qiang.In the 6th Yonghe year (141 AD) the Western Qiang invaded San Fu and surrounded Anding. TheAttacking the West General, Min Xian, led the troops of the various commanderies to attack theQiang but could not subdue them. Although Huangfu Gui was just a commoner, he saw thatGeneral Xian showed little concern for military affairs, so he examined why he would certainlysuffer defeat, and presented a petition with his accusation. Shortly after, Min Xian was indeedwiped out by the Qiang. The commandery general then knew that Huangu Gui was gifted inmilitary strategy and he was ordered to…lead 800 armoured soldiers to fight the Qiang. ManyQiang were beheaded, and the ‘thieves’ retreated. Gui was made a senior official of strategy.159After that the Qiang multitudes got together and attacked and burned Longxi and the imperialcourt was very worried.Huangfu Gui then submitted his opinion as to why General Xian had failed and what should bedone. His suggestion was to join forces with Zhao Chong, the Colonel Protector of the Qiang. Guiclaimed familiarity with the mountain valleys and said the troops were very agile, … and thatthey wouldn’t accept surrender.… Although Huangfu Gui was young and not of high noble position he begged to be given thischarge but at that time the emperor turned him down.157杂种诸羌: nowadays this has become a derogatory term like ‘son of a bitch’ but back then it indicatedthat the Qiang were an ethnic mix, which seems likely as they are often described as ‘x’ or ‘y’ type of Qiang,unlike the Xiongnu or Wuhuan, for example, who are usually just referred to as a single group.158 I.e. the Qiang are carefully observing what is happening among the Han.159 上计掾
  • 31. In the autumn of the 4th Yanxi year (161 AD), the rebellious Qiang, Lingwu160 and his men,joined forces with another type of Xianlian and invaded and plundered Guanzhong.161 DuanJiong, the Colonel Protector of the Qiang, was recalled because of wrongdoing.162 After this thevarious kinds of Xianlian went on the rampage and streamed over the camp defence walls.When Gui found out about this Qiang situation he wanted to offer his services so he submitted amemorial to the emperor. Describing the Qiang as ‘crafty thieves,’ he once again suggested howto handle them. When winter came, the Qiang united on a large scale causing the court much anxiety. Gui wasselected as Zhonglang General, supervising the troops west of the pass. He attacked anddefeated Lingwu and his men, beheading about 800. The various Xianlian kinds of Qiangadmired Gui’s reputation, and more than 100,000 were induced to surrender. The followingyear (162 AD), Gui sent his cavalry to attack Longyou, but the road/region was completelyisolated and there was serious illness among the troops, with 13 or 14 deaths. Gui personallyentered the barracks to see how his troops were, pleasing his men. The Eastern Qiang163 thensent an envoy to ask to surrender and Liangzhou was open once again .164Earlier, the governor of Anding, Sun Jun, accepted bribes and things were in disorder165 and LiXi, the Chief Commandant of the Vassal States, and Zhang Bing, the provincial military ‘yushi’governor,166 killed many of the surrendered Qiang.167 The Liangzhou governor, Guo Hong, andthe Hanyang governor, Yue Xi, were old and weak and couldn’t cope with their responsibilitiesso they relied on their influential nobles and did not obey the law. When Gui arrived at theborder of Liangzhou he heard about these crimes and dismissed some of the people andpunished others. When the Qiang people heard this they were unanimous in their praise andhad a change of heart. Dian Chang and Ji Tian, the main chiefs of the Shendi,168 again came tovisit Gui and surrender with more than 100,000.Gui was falsely accused by wicked eunuchs and others of corrupting/bribing the Qiang, bringingabout a merely superficial surrender. The emperor issued a condemnation of this ‘situation’ andGui issued a defence of himself:“In the autumn of the 4th Yanxi year (161 AD), the Rong were causing disgraceful armedrebellion. Coming from the western provinces they invaded as far as Jingyang169 and the formercapital [Chang’an] was terrified and the court had to pay attention to the west. … The variouskinds of Qiang Rong, great and small, kowtowed, …” Gui went on to explain his side of the story,saying that he had used funds to appease the Qiang but that his expenditure of 10,000,000 was160 零吾: most probably leader of a Qiang clan, which would also take the name Lingwu (or Lianwu, as inXianlian).161 关中: ‘within the passes’ - the Guanzhong plain in Shaanxi and the westernmost part of Henan, whichwas centred on the lower valley of the Wei River. Its western extent was in the area of Dasan Pass, Baoji,and its northern extent was Xiao Pass in the area southeast of Ningxia’s Guyuan, which is almost directlynorth of Baoji. This shows the Qiang pressing eastwards and ever closer to the heart of Han territory.162 His wrongdoing was most likely not controlling the Qiang and preventing their advance.163 Only the second reference to the Eastern Qiang, the first being in Chapter Eight, also in the time ofDuan Jiong, which suggests that the term ‘Eastern Qiang’ came into being with the advance of some Qianggroups into the Guanzhong area.164 A recurring theme: when the Qiang perceive that a Han leader is both skilled and of good character,they are more willing to yield.165 Or could be ‘received notoriety’ -受取狼籍166 督军御史167 A recurring theme: see the Qian Han Shu Chapter 54 where General Li Guang confesses to killing 800Qiang on the day they surrendered to him.168 沈氐: mentioned elsewhere as Shendi Qiang. See Chapter Five above. They had invaded Zhangye in 120AD.169泾阳: the Xianyang area of Shaanxi.
  • 32. less than the hundreds of millions used since the Yongchu period (107 - 113 AD), not to mentionthe five armies that had been wiped out.This is a clear indication that the Qiang had continued to be a massive problem for the Han eventhough the rebellion which began in 107 AD had been quelled. More than fifty years later, theQiang were still draining the military and financial resources of the Han empire.Later, Huangfu Gui became the Colonel Protector of the Qiang but in the 3rd Xiping year (174 AD)he got sick and died.The next section is about Zhang Huan, who was from the Dunhuang area in western Gansu:In the first Yongshou year (155 AD), Zhang Huan became the Chief Commandant of Andingvassal state. When he took up his position … more than 7000 southern Xiongnu invaded Meiji170and the Eastern Qiang, in agreement with the Xiongnu, again mobilised their kind. Huan’sdefence only had 200 ‘promised men’, so when he heard this he halted his troops and left. ... Hewent to the garrison at the Great Wall, collected more soldiers and sent General Wang Wei toentice the Eastern Qiang, because they [the Han] had seized Kucha which meant that thesouthern Xiongnu could not communicate with the Eastern Qiang.171 The various chiefs then oneafter another made peace with Huan and together they attacked the Southern Xiongnu,defeating them after several battles.The Qiang chief felt Huan was gracious and gave him 20 horses. The Xianlian chief also gave 8(golden) bells.172 Huan received these and summoned the official registrar in front of all theQiang, and poured out a libation of wine on the ground saying, “Let the horses be like sheep, notput in the stable; let the bells be like grain, not cherished in the heart.” Then he returned all thebells and horses. The Qiang were covetous by nature but they attached importance to the purityof officials. The previous eight colonels had amassed money and goods, causing the Qiang tosuffer hardship, but Huan himself was of an upright nature and became widely known for hisbenevolent governance.This next short section shows how under pressure the Chinese were from various groups, and, onceagain, how successful good strategy and wise leadership was in winning over these groups.Huan then became Zhonglang General. At that time the Xiutuge [a Xiongnu tribe] and theWuhuan of Shuofang joined forces and rebelled, burning the military post of the DuliaoGeneral, … the soldiers were terrified and wanted to flee. …. Huan kept his cool…and the mencalmed down… He then secretly got the Wuhuan on his side, beheaded the Tuge chiefs, andattacked and defeated the Tuge multitudes. The various Hu then all came and surrendered.In the 1st Yanxi year, the Xianbei invaded the borders and Zhang Huan led the Southern Shanyu(of the Xiongnu) to attack them and several hundred Xianbei were beheaded.In the autumn of the 9th Yanxi year (166 AD), the Xianbei again led 8-9000 cavalry within thefrontier, and enticed the Eastern Qiang to form an alliance with them. As a result the Shendi[Qiang] of Shang commandery and the various kinds of Xianlian of Anding together invadedWuwei and Zhangye, causing terrible trouble in the border regions. The court were veryworried and reappointed Huan as Protector of the Xiongnu Zhonglang General, … When theXiongnu and Wuhuan heard that Huan had come, they surrendered one after another,170Jungar Banner in Inner Mongolia, in the area of Ordos city.171龟兹: Quici/Kucha was far to the west along the northern rim of the Tarim basin. This reference mayjust indicate that the Han were once again in control of the Gansu corridor and therefore able to keep theSouthern Xiongnu and the Eastern Qiang apart.172金鐻八枚. A ‘ju 鐻’ was a kind of musical bell. 金 – can mean ‘gold’ but was also an ancient kind of bell.
  • 33. altogether 200,000. However, Huan still executed their wicked leader(s) but reassured andaccepted the rest. Only the Xianbei went out beyond the borders.The Shendi and Xianlian, both referred to elsewhere as Qiang groups, would have been movingnorthwest to go from Anding and Shang commandery towards Wuwei and Zhangye. If theysucceeded, the Han route through to today’s Xinjiang would again be threatened. It is difficult toknow if they were just plundering or if this was a serious attempt to regain old pasture lands andcontrol of the Gansu corridor but it may well have been the latter.In spring of the 1st Yongkang year (167 AD), 5-6,000 cavalry of the Eastern Qiang and theXianlian173 invaded Guanzhong, surrounding Duiyu174 and plundering Yunyang.175 In thesummer they again attacked Meiliang camp, killing more than 1,000 people. In the winter, twoQiang [leaders], An Wei and Mo Bie, and their men, coerced others of their kind to again plunderSan Fu. Huan dispatched Sima Yin Duan and Dong Zhuo to attack them together and they won agreat victory, beheading their chiefs and taking captive more than 10,000. All three provinces[You, Bing and Liang] were then quiet.Earlier, when Huan was Duliao General, he had joined with Duan Jiong to attack the Qiang butthey didn’t get on with each other. When Jiong became Sili Officer, he wanted to banish Huanback to Dunhuang and wanted to cause him harm… Huan eventually became a commander-in-chief and was famous for his meritorious service. He died in the 4th Guanghe year (181 AD),aged 78 years old.In the second Yanxi year (159 AD), Duan Jiong moved to become Colonel Protector of the Qiang.When eight kinds of Qiang, including the Shaodang, Shaohe, Dangjian, and Leijie,176 invaded theborders177 of Longxi and Jincheng, General Jiong led his own soldiers and the HuangzhongYicong Qiang, about 12,000 riders, out of the Huang Valley and attacked and defeated them.178Jiong and his men pursued them south across the river, ordering the army officials, Tian Yan andXia Yu, to climb up first and suspend a rope for the others and then they fought again anddefeated them at Luo Ting, beheading 2,000 of the Qiang tribal chiefs and others under them,and capturing over 10,000. The enemy all fled.This is notable: 2,000 tribal chiefs suggests an alliance of many small family clans among these ‘8types’ of Qiang. The Shaohe are mentioned in Chapter 49 related to Longxi and Jincheng in AD 76so it seems they are possibly trying to regain old territory for their livestock. Going south across theYellow River would have led into the region of Guide/Guinan which lay between the Yellow Riverand the Anye Machen mountain range.In the spring of the following year (160 AD), the remaining Qiang with the main chief of theShaohe (Qiang) again invaded Zhangye and attacked the Julu defences, killing the officials of the173 At times it seems that the Xianlian are synonymous with the Eastern Qiang but in this instance there isa comma between the two: 永康元年春,东羌、先零五六千…174 祋祤: Duiyu – east of today’s Yao county in the Tongchuan area of Shaanxi.175 云阳: northwest of Chunhua county in Shaanxi, northwest of today’s Xi’an.176 烧当, 烧何, 当煎, 勒姐177 塞 – this can mean a strategic border pass.178 The Huang valley – now the Xining valley – was the old ‘stomping ground’ of the Shaodang (seeChapter 46 above for example and the story of Mi Tang). It’s possible that their flight southwards, toescape Duan Jiong and his men, was towards the Anye Machen area of Qinghai but it is unclear from whatdirection they were invading Longxi and Jincheng – possibly from the west or south which were areas notcontrolled by the Han but the Qiang were also out of Han reach up in the Qilian mountains to the north.
  • 34. vassal state and recruiting 1,000 more tribal settlements179 of their same kind.180 At daybreak,the combined force went straight towards Duan Jiong’s army. Jiong dismounted from his horseand kept fighting until noon. His sword was broken and his arrows spent and the enemy (theQiang) also retreated. Jiong pursued them, fighting and moving at the same time. They battledthrough the day and night, living on meat and snow for more than 40 days, and then reached thehead of the river at Jishi Mountain,181 going 2,000 li [c.480km] beyond the frontier, where Jiongand his men beheaded the main commander of the Shaohe and took captive more than 5,000people. Troops were also diverted to attack the Shicheng Qiang,182 beheading and drowning1,600 people. More than 90 of the Shaodang type came to Jiong and surrendered. Also, themixed race183 Qiang assembled at White Stone184 and Jiong again attacked them and captured(and beheaded?) more than 3,000. In the winter, the Leijie and Lingwu kinds (of Qiang)surrounded Yunjie,185 killing and plundering the officials and people. Jiong sent troops to rescuethem, beheading and capturing several hundred people.In the winter of the 4th year (161 AD), the Shendi of Shang commandery, and various kinds ofQiang including the Laojie and Wuwu of Longxi,186 together plundered187 Bing and Liangprovinces and Duan Jiong led the Yicong of Huangzhong against them. The governor ofLiangzhou, Guo Hong, was greedy to share their meritorious achievement. He halted Jiong’sarmy and didn’t let them advance. The Yicong had been in military service for a long time andwere yearning for their old lives so they all rebelled. Guo Hong blamed the situation on Jiongand Jiong was punished and imprisoned. … The Qiang then went on the rampage, streamingover the camp defences, inviting each other to join forces, and violating all the commanderies.As a result, the officials and people guarding the watchtowers sued Jiong … However, the courtknew that Jiong had been falsely accused by Guo Hong and they asked him about his situation.Jiong apologised for his offense… He eventually became governor of Bingzhou.At that time, Dianna and his people,188 various kinds of Qiang, altogether 5-6,000 people,plundered Wuwei, Zhangye and Jiuquan, burning the people’s homes.189 In the 6th year (163 AD),the power of these bandits increased and Liangzhou was almost destroyed. In winter, DuanJiong was again appointed Colonel Protector of the Qiang. … In the spring of the followingyear,355 chiefs of the Fengmiao, Liangduo and Dianna Qiang clans,190 led 3,000 tribalsettlements to surrender to Duan Jiong. However, the Dangjian and Leijie types still gathered179落: is most likely a tribal settlement. Because there are so many of them, it seems they would have beensmall settlements of clan groups.180 These 1,000 settlements seem to have been in the Zhangye vassal state, which was north of Zhangyecommandery. See Rafe de Crespigny’s 189 AD map, mentioned above on the first page of this document.181 See n.47 above. 积石山:possibly the Anye Machen Mts in southeastern Qinghai. This seems far fromZhangye but in 40 days they could cover a lot of ground.182石城羌: there are many places called ‘Stone City’ but this one was most likely in the Hualong areasoutheast of Xining and just north of the Yellow River.183杂种 : see n.57 above. This term is used much less frequently than ‘诸种 various kinds’ of Qiang.184白石: Possibly a coincidence but pieces of white stone are placed on the roof-top altars of Qiang houses.I was told by a Qiang resident that contrary to some people’s assumptions, the white stones are notworshipped themselves but are representative of deity.185勒姐、零吾种围允街 . Yunjie – southeast of Yongdeng, Gansu.186沈氐, 牢姐 and 乌吾187 寇: I have generally translated this as invaded but it can also mean plundered.188滇那189 This may well be Qiang raiders coming down from today’s Qilian mountains, south of the Gansucorridor, which in earlier times were often referred to as the Nan Shan – southern mountains – a termwhich also at times included the Kunlun mountains in southern Xinjiang/northern Tibet.190 封缪, 良多, 滇那
  • 35. and formed an alliance. Jiong led more than 10,000 men to attack and defeat them, beheadingtheir chiefs and taking over 4,000 captives.In spring of the 8th year (165 AD), Duan Jiong again attacked the Leijie type. He beheaded 400and more than 2,000 surrendered. In the summer he advanced his army and attacked theDangjian type in Huangzhong but Jiong’s troops were defeated and surrounded for 3 days, …they managed to get out secretly at night and returned to the battle beating their drums. Theydefeated the Dangjian, beheading and capturing several thousand people. Jiong then went in hotpursuit, winding among the mountain valleys, from spring to autumn, fighting every day, andthe enemy were starving and hard-pressed, defeated and scattered, between the northernboundary and Wuwei.I have put the following sentence in bold simply to draw attention to these totals:In all his defeats of the Western Qiang, Duan Jiong beheaded 23,000 people and capturedseveral ten thousand people, as well as 8,000,000 horses, cattle and sheep, and more than10,000 clan settlements (落) surrendered. Jiong was enfeoffed…In the first Yongkang year (167 AD), the various kinds of Dangjian again rebelled,191 an allianceof 4,000, wanting to attack Wuwei. Jiong again pursued and attacked them in Luan Niao192 anddefeated them, killing their commander and beheading more than 3,000. With this the WesternQiang were suppressed and pacified.Judging by the next paragraph, this referred to the Western Qiang as a whole as opposed to theEastern Qiang. Although the defeat sounds very final, such pacifications were often followed byfurther Qiang uprisings.The following section is a useful assessment of the Eastern Qiang:However, after the Eastern Qiang (and) the Xianlian etc had inflicted a severe defeat on Ma Xian,the Attacking the West General, the court couldn’t send troops against them, so they ofteninvaded and harassed the San Fu region. After that, Huangfu Gui, the Duliao General, and ZhangHuan, the Zhonglang General, drew them in for several years and then they surrendered but thiswas followed by further rebellion. Emperor Huan sent an imperial order with a request forDuan Jiong: “The Xianlian (and) Eastern Qiang are doing evil and rebelling. … I want Jiong tomove his troops east and attack…” Jiong replied “I see that although the Xianlian (and) EasternQiang frequently rebel, already more than 20,000 clan groups have surrendered to Huangfu Guiand have learned the difference between good and evil [i.e. they respect Han culture], and thereare not many of the invaders left. Now Zhang Huan is hesitating to advance, worrying that thoseoutside will leave and those inside will unite, and if the soldiers move forward they will bealarmed. Also, from winter to spring, the garrisons consolidate, the people and livestock aretired and weak, … I consider (these people) to be sons of wolves with wild hearts, and it is noteasy for them to accept our favour, and although the powerful and the poor submit, if thesoldiers leave they will rise up again. … I estimate that about 30,000 tribal settlements remain ofthe eastern kind, living close to within the frontiers. The road is not dangerous or broken andwe don’t have to pass through areas controlled by Yan, Qi, Qin, or Zhao. The eastern Qiang havebeen causing chaos in the provinces of Bing and Liang for a long time, straining to invade San Fu,Xihe, and Shang commandery, each of them moving further in. Anding and Beidi are again191Having suffered such a defeat it is amazing that they were willing to rebel again and this shows thatmuch was at stake – most likely wanting to regain control of old pasture lands. It has to be rememberedthat until the expansion of Emperor Wu in the late 2nd century BC, all this territory, including today’sQinghai, the Gansu corridor, and northern Gansu and Ningxia, were not part of the Chinese empire.192鸾鸟: a county in the Wuwei region.
  • 36. isolated and afraid. From Yunzhong and Wuyuan more than 2,000 li west to Hanyang,193 theXiongnu and various Qiang both claim the land for themselves without any authorisation, theyare a deep ulcer, a hidden danger ‘lurking in our armpit.’ If we no longer punish them, they willtake great advantage of the situation. Today, if we use 5,000 cavalry, 10,000 infantry and 3,000chariots, we will have dealt with them in 3 winters and 2 summers. The cost would beapproximately 5,400,000,000. In this way we can finish off the groups of Qiang194 TheXiongnu … have migrated into the commanderies and counties and must return to their ownterritory. In the Yongchu period (107 – 113 AD) the various Qiang rebelled for 14 years, costingus 24,000,000,000. At the end of the Yonghe period (136-141 AD), they rebelled for another 7years, costing us more than 8,000,000,000. If we waste so much like this and hesitate to finishthem off, the remaining evil elements will rise up again and wreak havoc.” The emperoragreed…In the spring of the first Jianning year (168 AD), Jiong, with more than 10,000 troops and 15days of food supplies, went from Pengyang to Gaoping and fought with the various kinds ofXianlian at Feng Yi Mountain.195 The enemy soldiers were many and Jiong’s men were afraid buthe still ordered his army to display their arrows, sharp swords and triple spears, with theircrossbows under their arms, and then arranged the light cavalry on the left and right flanks. Thesoldiers and commanders stirred each other saying, “Today we are several thousand li fromhome. If we advance, this affair will be accomplished but if we flee many of us will die so let usdo our best and together share the military honour!” With loud shouts they all galloped intobattle … the enemy hordes were routed, with more than 8,000 beheaded and 280,000 horses,cattle and sheep taken.196At this time empress dowager Dou held court and said, “The Xianlian Eastern Qiang have causedtrouble year after year. Jiong previously explained the situation and the necessity of completelywiping them out. He persevered through the fog and snow, morning and night on a forcedmarch, … He has redressed the wrongs of a hundred years, comforting the souls of those faithfuldeceased generals…” Duan Jiong was made Defeater of the Qiang General.In the summer, Jiong again pursued the Qiang out of Qiaomen to above Zouma River.197 Shortlyafter, he heard that the enemy were in Sheyan Marsh198 so he led a small army on a forcedmarch, marching more than 200 li [c.48km] in 24 hours … and attacked and defeated them atdawn. The remainder of the enemy went towards Luochuan199 and re-consolidated. Jiong thensent the Cavalry Sima, Tian Yan, with 5,000 men out to their east and used Sima Xia Yu to lead2,000 men around to the west. The Qiang divided 6-7,000 people to attack and surround Yanand his troops but Yan engaged them in battle and the Qiang scattered and fled. Jiong pressedhis attack, joined with Yan and pursued the Qiang to Lingxian River.200 … The enemy againscattered and fled. Jiong then joined his troops together and, fighting as they went, reached193云中, 五原: Hohhot and Bayan Nur regions in Inner Mongolia. 汉阳: roughly in the area between Dingxi,Pingliang and Tianshui.194 There is a difference again here between how the Qiang and Xiongnu are described. The Xiongnu haveno qualifier whereas the Qiang are in groups - 群羌.195彭阳: was in Anding commandery, now in southeastern Ningxia. 高平: Guyuan in Ningxia. 逢义山:northwest of Guyuan.196 The presence of so much livestock shows that the Xianlian were not just in the area to fight but weregrazing their herds and flocks there.197 For a discussion of the locations of the Zouma River 走马水 and Qiaomen 桥门 see They were near Jingbian in northern Shaanxi, with the Zoumariver probably a tributary of the Sheyan River.198 奢延泽: in the Inner Mongolia/Shaanxi border region near Shaanxi’s Jingbian county.199 落川 , now called Sheyan River 奢延水, south of Yulin in Shaanxi.200 令鮮水 – I couldn’t find this location.
  • 37. Lingwu Valley.201 Jiong then climbed up first and none of the soldiers dared (to be last). TheQiang then suffered a major defeat, abandoned their soldiers and fled. Jiong pursued them forthree days and nights and the soldiers all had serious calluses. Later they reached Jingyang202and the remainder of the invaders, 4,000 tribal settlements, all dispersed into the mountainvalleys of Hanyang.Zhang Huan then advocated a policy of appeasement, saying that they would not live with regretsif they encouraged the Qiang to surrender. Duan Jiong didn’t agree and gave an impassionedresponse:“I myself know that although the Eastern Qiang are many they are weak and easy to control …Zhang Huan says that the enemy are strong and difficult to defeat and that we should enticethem to surrender. … He trusts the smooth talk of the rebellious Qiang, who say that mysoldiers are worn out and have suffered humiliating defeat, and also that as natural humanbeings the Qiang have a right to life and should not be subjected to extreme punishment. [Hesays] the mountain valleys are extensive and should not be empty and silent and that whenblood flows in the dirt of the wastelands it destroys the justice and peace [of the Han empire]and brings disaster. I humbly consider that in the time of the Zhou and Qin, the Rong Di (戎狄)caused harm and since their resurgence the Qiang invaders have been the most flourishing. Wehave endlessly punished them and although they surrender, they then rebel again. Today thediverse groups of Xianlian203 gather and rebel again and again, attacking the counties and townsand plundering people and goods. Corpses are visibly exposed on the burial mounds, a life anddeath calamity, stirring the anger of the heavens … . What can I say? In former times the Xianlianinvaded and Zhao Chongguo allowed them to come inside the borders. The Jiandang204 causedchaos on the borders and Ma Yuan moved them to San Fu where they began to submit but inthe end they rebelled and today they are still like a fishbone in our throats. With foresight,earlier scholars saw that they would be a great concern. Today the population of the bordercommanderies is small and they are frequently harmed by the Qiang. Wanting to bring thesurrendered Qiang to settle among them is like growing thorns in a good field or like raising avenomous snake in one’s house. I respect the authority of the great Han dynasty. Longstandingpolicies have been established, wanting to cut them off at the roots and not allow them toreproduce. My plan will take 3 years and cost 5,400,000,000. We are less than half way throughthat and the remnant are just surviving embers, on their way to annihilation….”In the second year (169 AD), the Yezhe official, Feng Chan, was sent by imperial order topersuade the scattered Qiang of Hanyang to surrender. Jiong took advantage of the springfarming season and the common people spread out into the open land, but although the Qiangtemporarily surrendered, the county officials had no stored grain [for the Qiang], so they had toturn once again to plundering… In the summer, Jiong personally advanced his camp, and went40-50 li to where the Qiang were stationed at Fanting Mountain.205 He then sent Tian Yan andXia Yu with 5,000 men to occupy their mountain territory. All the Qiang multitudes attackedthem and said in a stern voice: “Are Tian Yan and Xia Yu here or not? On whose side are all theHuangzhong Yicong Qiang? On this day we want to decide life and death.” Those in the armywere afraid but Tian Yan urged his troops to fight to the death and then defeated the Qiang. TheQiang multitudes were routed and fled east but regrouped at Tiger Shooting Valley206 where201 灵武谷: in the Yinchuan region of Ningxia.202泾阳: the Xianyang area of Shaanxi.203先零杂种: ‘zazhong’ suggests an ethnic mix among the Xianlian.204煎当: these are the same characters as Dangjian 当煎 but reversed. Possibly the same Qiang group?205 凡亭山: Part or all of today’s Liupan Mountains 六盘山 stretching south from the Guyuan region ofNingxia into eastern Gansu.206射虎谷: Also n.61 above. This is thought to be Ganggu, west of Tianshui, which would mean the Qiangwere moving southwest.
  • 38. they divided soldiers to guard the upper and lower entrances to the valley. Jiong planned towipe them out in one go, not wanting them to be able to scatter again, so he sent 1,000 people tothe western counties to construct a wooden barrier 20 paces wide and 40 li in length andconcealed it. Then he dispatched Generals Yan and Yu with 7,000 men, gagged for silence, to goby night up the western mountain … and cross the trench into the Qiang area. He also sent SimaZhang Kai with 3,000 people up the eastern mountain. The enemy then became aware of thisand attacked Yan and then split up and hid in the canals they used for drawing water.207 Jiongthen personally led his cavalry and foot soldier to attack via the water and the Qiang movedback. Because Jiong, with Kai and his troops, held the east and west mountains, his soldiersattacked the Qiang from north to south and they again scattered in defeat. Jiong pursued themto the upper and lower entrances of the valleys, into the barren hills and deep valleys, defeatingthem everywhere, beheading 19,000 from their chiefs down and taking countless cattle, horses,donkeys, mules, as well as felt and fur fabric tent coverings etc. Feng Chan summoned 4,000 tosurrender and settled them in Anding, Hanyang and Longxi commanderies and as a result theEastern Qiang were all pacified.As with the pacification of the Western Qiang, this was also a temporary pacification.In all, there had been 180 battles, more than 38,600 beheaded, more than 420,000 cattle,horses, donkeys, mules, and camels captured and an expenditure of 4,400,000,000, withmore than 400 officers208 killed.Chapter 97: 卷六十七 党锢列传第五十七 The Biography of DangguIn the 2nd Yongshou year (156 AD), the Xianbei invaded Yunzhong.209 Emperor Huan heard thatLi Ying was capable, so he again appointed him Duliao General. Earlier, the Qiang enemy (Lu 虏)as well as Shule (Kashgar) and Kucha often came out and attacked and plundered the variouscommanderies of Zhangye, Jiuquan and Yunzhong and repeatedly caused trouble for thecommon people. When Li Ying reached the border, they were keeping watch and in fear theyyielded to him and returned all the men and women they had taken by force to just outside theborder pass.The only other Qiang reference in this chapter is to a place name called Zhengqiang or ‘Attackingthe Qiang’ 征羌, which was surprisingly far east in Runan 汝南 in Henan province. It is mentionedin relation to someone called Fan Pang who was from Zhengqiang.Chapter 100: 卷七十 郑孔荀列传第六十 The Biography of Zheng, Kong and XunThere are just two Qiang references in this biography, both in a speech by someone called Gong Yewho makes a list of points.In his fifth point: All the commanderies west of the pass are considerably practiced in warfareand in recent times have fought repeatedly with the Qiang. The women carry halberds andspears and bows and arrows and are strong and brave soldiers, reckless warriors. They cancertainly win.210207汲水道: It is worth noting here that Taoping Qiang Village in Sichuan’s Aba prefecture is famous for itsfortress-like design, including passageways which contain access to underground water supplies.208军士:relatively low-ranking military officers209云中: In the Hohhot region of Inner Mongolia210 As the next point demonstrates, this was not necessarily just Han migrants to these areas but includedpeople who had surrendered from the various groups that had been enemies of the Han.
  • 39. In his sixth point: Those who are strong and valiant across the empire, feared by the commonpeople, are the people of Bingzhou and Liangzhou, as well as the Xiongnu, the Tuge, theHuangzhong Yicong and the eight kinds of Western Qiang. And you, honourable generals, usethem as your henchmen, like driving a tiger or rhinoceros to deal with dogs and sheep.Chapter 102: 董卓列传第六十二 The Biography of Dong ZhuoDong Zhuo was from Lintao in Longxi, which was an area with many Qiang inhabitants. He was acruel military man who usurped Han power in 189 having murdered the empress dowager andchild emperor. He was killed in 192.When he was young, Dong Zhuo often roamed among the Qiang (羌中211), doing his best to buildlinks with their chiefs. Later, when he retired from public service and returned home, he killedan ox for all the chiefs who came to him and treated them to a banquet with music. The chiefswere moved by this and returned to present to him 1,000 mixed livestock they had rounded upand because of this he became famous as a strong warrior. As an army commander (兵马掾) heoften went to inspect the borders. Zhuo was a man of extraordinary strength and had twohorseback quivers for his bows and arrows and could shoot with both left and right hands. Hewas much feared by the Qiang (and) Hu.At the end of the reign of Emperor Huan, … he became military Sima under Zhang Huan, theZhonglang General, and together they attacked and defeated the rebellious Qiang of Hanyang.He was given the title of Langzhong and granted 9,000 bolts of fine silk. … For a short while hewas Colonel of the Western Regions but he was removed from his post for a misdemeanour.Later he became governor of Bingzhou, and then head commander of Hedong.In the 1st Zhongping year (184 AD), Zhuo became eastern Zhonglang General… In the winter, theXianlian Qiang of Beidi and bands of thieves from the Fuhan river passes rose up and thentogether they established Beigong Boyu and Marquis Li Wen of the Huangzhong Yicong Hu asgenerals and killed Ling Zheng who was the Colonel Protector of the Qiang. Boyu and his menthen coerced Bian Zhang and Han Sui of Jincheng, making them officers in charge of militaryaffairs, and together they killed Chen Yi, the governor of Jincheng, and attacked and burned theprovincial commanderies.The next reference is in a conversation between Zhang Wen’s military adviser, Sun Jian, and ZhouShen who was ‘Eliminating the Bandits’ General. Sun Jian said: “There is no grain in the thieves’ walled town and it has to be transported from outside. SunJian is willing to take 1,000 men and cut off their transport route and if the General follows withthe main army, the thieves will be trapped and worn down, and they won’t dare to fight. If weenter the Qiang area and mount a powerful expedition against them, Liangzhou can be pacified.”Shen disagreed and led the army to surround Yuzhong town.212 Bian Zhang and Han Sui thensent a division … to cut off Shen’s transport route. Shen was afraid and abandoned his militarysupply vehicles and retreated. At that time Zhang Wen also ordered Dong Zhuo to lead 30,000soldiers to attack the Xianlian Qiang and Zhuo was surrounded by the Qiang Hu north ofWangyuan213 and was short of grain, so whether he advanced or retreated he was in direstraits. … he managed to escape by crossing the river…In the next paragraph, 186 AD, Han Sui kills Bian Zhang, Beigong Boyu and Marquis Li Wen andthen surrounds Longxi. Several Han officials then join forces with Han Sui, including Li Xiangru, the211 This can just mean ‘among the Qiang’ but also became a relatively broad term for the Qiang region.212 榆中城: In the Lanzhou area of Gansu.213 望垣: in the Tianshui area of Gansu.
  • 40. governor of Longxi, Ma Teng, a high military official in Liangzhou, and Wang Guo of Hanyang.Although they managed to invade San Fu and Chencang, they were then defeated in the 5thZhongping year (188 AD) by Dong Zhuo and Huangfu Song.In the 6th year (189 AD), Dong Zhuo was requested to serve as Minor Treasurer214 but he wasn’twilling and presented a letter with his reasons: “The soldiers I command – the HuangzhongYicong and the Qin Hu all came to me saying, “The animal folds are not finished, funds forofficials are cut off, our wives are hungry and cold.” They can’t even pull my vehicle. The QiangHu have evil intentions and the feelings and behaviour of dogs 215 and I can’t stop them, …” DongZhuo was then made governor of Bingzhou…Han Sui and Ma Teng together ruled Liangzhou province pretty much as an independent region.They briefly submitted to Dong Zhuo’s government early in 192 AD but Zhuo was then killed. Suiand Teng’s forces marched towards Chang’an but were forced to retreat to Liangzhou and then Suiand Teng vied with each other for control of Liangzhou. They then came under Cao Cao’s controlfor a while.In the 16th Jian’an year (212 AD), Ma Chao and Han Sui moved to Guanzhong and turned againstCao Cao but Cao Cao attacked and defeated them. Han Sui and Ma Chao fled from this defeat …Ma Chao killed Wei Kang, the governor of Liangzhou, and again seized Longyou. In 19th year(215 AD) … Han Sui went among the Qiang of Jincheng and was killed by his own troops.216Chapter 107: 卷七十七 酷吏列传第六十七 The Biography of the Ruthless OfficialsAfter Kui Xiao217 was eliminated, Longyou was unsettled so Fan Ye was made governor ofTianshui. He governed in a strict and fierce manner… If people violated his prohibitions, aproportion didn’t come out of prison alive. The local officials and common people as well as theQiang Hu all feared him. Honesty pervaded society. …Chapter 110: 卷八十上 文苑列傳第七十上 The Biography of the Literary WorldThe first reference describes the expansionism of Emperor Wu at the end of the 2nd century BC.He established the four commanderies and a fortified position at Dunhuang. … He alsoestablished the official position of Protector of the Qiang and drove out the Di, the Bo, theLiaocang’ang and the Ze/Zuo.218There is another brief mention of a Defeating the Qiang General called Du, who, in the 3rdJianchu year (78 AD), was killed in an attack on the Western Qiang by Ma Fang’s forces whenthey were fighting the Qiang in Yegu Mountain.219Chapter 111: 卷八十一 独行列传第七十一 The Biography of IndividualsActing AloneIn the 6th Yongchu year (112 AD), Wen Xu became the Colonel Protector of the Qiang.214 少府 – a senior government position (Minor Treasurer)215羌胡敝肠狗态216韩遂走金城羌中,为其帐下所杀.217隗嚣: Kui (or Wei) Xiao. A Gansu warlord in the Tianshui region (d.33 AD).218氐, 僰, 寥狼昂, 莋219射姑山: in the Qingyang region of eastern Gansu. This would normally be pronounced ‘She Gu’ but inthis instance is apparently ‘Ye Gu.’
  • 41. This next paragraph is an interesting description of a people fleeing from a funeral because theWestern Qiang suddenly attacked. The suddenness shows what effect these raids could have on theChinese living in these areas.At the beginning of the reign of Emperor An (r. 107-125), someone called Liang Zhan who wasan official in Longxi, fell ill and died. At the beginning of his two-day funeral the Western Qiangrose up, and Liang Zhan’s wife and children all escaped the chaos by fleeing to anothercommandery, with only Miao Peng staying behind to build the funeral mound. He secretly dug awell beside it to use as an underground room and stayed hidden in the daytime but at night timetransported the soil so that by the time the ‘thieves’ (i.e. the Qiang) were pacified, the tomb wasalready built. Zhan’s wife and children thought Miao Peng had already died so they were verysurprised when they returned. Everyone west of the pass was full of praise and Miao was givenvehicles and horses, clothes and money, but he turned it all down and went back to his nativeplace.There is another brief reference to the Western Qiang rising up at the same time as theproblems caused by the Yellow Turbans.220Chapter 112: 卷八十二上 方术列传第七十二上 The Biography of Divination andHealingA brief note about someone called Liao Fu from Runan in Henan. His father had been governor ofBeidi and was imprisoned for the crime of not preventing the Qiang inundating his commandery.Having seen what happened to his father, Liao Fu was terrified of becoming an official. Hebecame a scholar instead.Also, Fan Zhangzhi, from Hanzhong, was very learned and could make himself invisible.221 Heoften travelled in Longxi and at that time Duan Jiong, the Defeating the Qiang General, went outto attack the Western Qiang and he asked to see Zhangzhi. That evening, Duan Jiong’s army washeavily surrounded by the Qiang, so for three days he couldn’t leave. At night Zhangzhi said toDuan Jiong: “In the southeast corner there are no Qiang, you should take advantage of thisweakness and lead your people out and station them 100 li away. Then your troops can returnand attack them and you will win a great victory.” Duan Jiong followed his advice and did indeeddefeat the Qiang.Chapter 113: 卷八十三 逸民列传第七十三 The Biography of HermitsJust one comment here by a hermit called Dai Liang from Runan in Henan, who was extremelytalented and whose discourses were esteemed and marvellous. He was dismayed by theprevalent customs of the time. Xie Ji of the same commandery asked him with filial piety, “Doesthe master consider himself to be without comparison across the realm?” Liang replied: “Am Iequal to (?222) Confucius who grew up in Eastern Lu or Yu the Great who came from the WesternQiang, unparalleled across the realm? Who can match them?”This reference to Yu the Great (大禹) is from a quotation by Sima Qian in his Shiji. For a note onthis, see my Shiji Qiang references.220黄巾: the Yellow Turban (or Yellow Scarves) – a widespread peasant revolt which lasted from 184 AD –205 AD. The Liangzhou Rebellion of Han rebels, Qiang and Xiao Yuezhi lasted from 184-189, so the Hanwould have been fighting on several fronts.221隐身不仕: a Daoist art222我若仲尼长东鲁,大禹出西羌,独步天下,谁与为偶!
  • 42. Chapter 114: 卷八十四 列女传第七十四 The Biography of Notable WomenThe first reference comes in a confrontation between the widow of Huangfu Gui and Dong Zhuo.The widow had inappropriately sought an audience with Zhuo and was surrounded by hisattendants with their knives drawn. She was a particularly skilled writer of prose and also,because of her good handwriting, she had sometimes served as Gui’s secretary, which waslooked on askance by people who thought she was not behaving like a traditional woman. Theattendants charged her with unwomanly behaviour and in her response she mentioned, “Therulers of the Qiang Hu type are poisoning the whole realm – isn’t’ that enough evil?”The second reference is in a poem by Wen Ji (文姬), the widow of Dong Si. She had gone to visitCao Cao to appeal on behalf of her husband who had broken the law and faced death. Her poemreflected on the distress of refugees:“The power of the Han is on the wane, Dong Zhuo has caused chaos in the realm. His plan is tokill the emperor, first causing trouble for all the able and virtuous men. Forcing changes on theold kingdom, he uses (war)lords to strengthen himself. Throughout the country a righteousarmy is arising, wanting to attack together that which is inauspicious. Zhuo’s multitudes comeeastwards, their armour dazzling in the sun. On the plains the people are weak and theadvancing soldiers are all Hu and Qiang (胡羌). They hunt in the wild and surround the townsand villages and wherever they go the people are defeated and flee.”The second section of the poem includes another Qiang reference describing the area west ofthe passes which is the dangerous and difficult territory of the Qiang (and) Man 羌蛮.223Chapter 116: 卷八十六 南蛮西南夷列传第七十六 The Biography of the Southern Manand the Southwestern YiThere is no mention of the Qiang in the introductory list of this chapter, which includes thefollowing tribes:The southern Man, the Man of the southern commanderies of Ba, the Ban Shun Man and Yi, thesouthwestern Yi, Yelang, Dian, Ailao, Qiongdu, Ran Mang, and the Baima Di.224In the 2nd Yonghe year (137 AD), several thousand people of the Man and Yi district beyond theborders of Rinan and Xianglin225 attacked Xianglin county, burning the town temples and killingthe high officials. Han troops were sent to the rescue but the soldiers dreaded distant militaryservice and rebelled, attacking their government. Although the two commanderies attacked anddefeated those rebelling, the power of these ‘thieves’226 increased. … A high official called JiaChang was sent to Rinan and together with the commandery soldiers of the province theyattacked the rebels but failed and were then attacked in return. …The senior Han ministers all convened to discuss the situation and there was a suggestion tosend 40,000 soldiers … but Li Gu, a very senior general gave a long speech disagreeing with thissuggestion and in it he mentions the Qiang of Yizhou who seem to have been preferred by the223 In the Han period the Qiang are very rarely described as Qiang Man, so either this is poetic usage, or itis the Qiang and the Man peoples listed together.224南蛮 巴郡南郡蛮 板楯蛮夷 西南夷 西南夷 夜郎 滇 哀牢 邛都 莋都 冉駹 白马氐The terms Man and Yi are both used as broad generic terms. The Yi character 夷 is composed of ‘large’and ‘bow’ (大 and 弓) which suggests archers. The Man character 蛮 is composed of ‘reptile/insect’ (虫)and a phonetic component ‘luan (䜌).’225 Rinan and Xianglin were in the central Vietnam region.226 贼 – thief, bandit, traitor. This is a derogatory term also often used to describe the Qiang.
  • 43. locals over the Han officials:227 “The Zhonglang General, Yin Jiu, attacked the rebellious Qiang ofYizhou. A proverb of Yizhou says: “The Lu228 come in a reasonable way but the governmentofficials come to kill us.” Then Jiu travelled back and handed his troops over to Governor ZhangQiao.”The following paragraph shows the Qiang unsuccessfully trying to push south into Hanzhong (inthe border area of Shaanxi and Sichuan today) and being roundly defeated by the Banshun ‘non-Chinese’ from Ba prefecture (today’s eastern Sichuan area).In the Yongchu period, the Qiang people entered Hanchuan229 devastating the commanderycounties and it was the Ban Shun230 who were sent to the rescue and the Qiang were thoroughlydefeated and almost wiped out, so these Ban Shun were called ‘divine soldiers.’ The Qiangpeople were afraid and passed on a saying to their descendants that they shouldn’t go southagain. In the 2nd Jianhe year (147 AD), the Qiang entered again in great numbers but the BanShun defeated them again.The southwestern Yi are beyond the borders of Shu commandery. There is the state of Yelangwhich borders Jiaozhi [in Vietnam] in the east and has Dian State on its west [south of Kunming]and Qiongdu state to the north.231 Each of these has its own ruler. The people all wear their hairin a mallet-shaped topknot and fasten their clothes on the left side. … they farm the fields.Beyond these there are the various tribes of the Sui and Kunming, with Tongshi in the far west,reaching Yeyu in the northeast, an area of several thousand li. They don’t have supreme rulers,they braid their hair, and they move around with their livestock. Northeast from Sui is Zuodustate, and (further) northeast is the Ranmang state in which some of the population are theoriginal natives and some are nomads on the move with their livestock. Northeast of Ranmanglies the Baima (white horse) state whose people are of the Di kind. These three states (i.e. Zuodu,Ranmang and Baima) have supreme rulers.In the first Yongchu year of Emperor An (107 AD), the Sanxiang kind of Yi in Shu commanderyand the Wuyan type beyond the borders joined forces and rose up with more than 3,000fighters, and attacked Canling town,232 killing the governor. In the second year (108 AD), the Yiof the Qingyi district233 …together with three other kinds of Yi beyond the borders – 310,000people – presented gold and yak felt, were given land and became vassals of China. … In the 2ndYongshou year (156 AD), the Yi of Shu commandery rebelled, killing and plundering the officialsand people. In the 2nd Yanxi year (159 AD), the Sanxiang Yi of Shu commandery invadedCanling234 and killed the governor. In the 4th Yanxi year (161 AD), the Yi of Qianwei235 vassalstate invaded the commandery border and the governor of Yizhou, Shan Yu, defeated them andbeheaded 1400. The remainder disbanded and scattered. In the time of Emperor Ling (168-189AD), the vassal state of Shu commandery became Hanjia commandery.236227 See n.26 above regarding Yizhou.228“虏来尚可,尹来杀我” The ‘lu’ in the proverb may be a general reference to non-Han enemies ratherthan specifically Qiang.229 Although there is a Hanchuan in Hubei, this reference is thought to indicate Hanzhong 汉中 in Shaanxi.230 板楯: the Banshun Man of Ba commandery were in today’s eastern Sichuan, in the Nanchong area.231邛都: southeast of today’s Xichang in Sichuan.232 蚕陵城: thought to be Canling township in Mao county, Aba prefecture, Sichuan.233 青衣道夷: in later historical documents there are references to the Qingyi Qiang of the Ya’an area,south of Chengdu.234 蚕陵: as n.232 above.235 犍为: Qianwei county, Leshan, Sichuan.236 汉嘉郡: Today’s Lushan county in Ya’an, Sichuan.
  • 44. This following passage has been used to support the view that the Qiang have been in their currentlocation since 111 BC. Whilst some Qiang may have been in this area, it is clear from the majorityof Qiang references in the Hou Han Shu that the main Qiang sphere of the Later Han period wasfurther north across Liang and Bing provinces (eastern Qinghai, Gansu, Ningxia and parts ofShaanxi).The Ranmang Yi area, opened up by Emperor Wu in the 6th Yuanding (111 BC), becameWenshan commandery.237 By the 3rd Dijie year (67 BC), because the Yi people thought taxationwas heavy, Emperor Xuan then annexed it to Shu commandery under the commander of thenorthern section. Its mountains have six Yi, seven Qiang and nine Di, each with their owntribes.238 Their rulers are fairly literate and have strict laws. They esteem women and they arematriarchal. They burn the body of the deceased. Their land is very cold and in midsummer theice has still not melted. In the winter the Yi people flee the cold and go down to Shu as hiredworkers. In summer they avoid the hot weather and go back to their towns. The people arereliant on the mountains where they live, gathering stones for their houses, with the highestbeing more than ten ‘zhang’ (c.100 ft), called ‘Qionglong.’239The soil is firm and alkaline and doesn’t produce grain, millet, hemp or beans. The only resourcethey have is wheat and it is easy to raise livestock. They have yak with no horns, also known as a‘child cow’ (童牛), which weighs 1,000 jin, and the fur can be made into cloth. They have famoushorses and a kind of antelope (灵羊) which can be used to remove poison from people. Theyalso have a deer which provides food and medicine, … the people can make felt from animal hair,and a kind of patterned fabric, … They have many medicinal compounds. The soil is salty andcan be boiled to get salt. Their ‘elk’ (麋), sheep, cattle and horses and their food are all rich.To their west there are also the Three Rivers Lu and the Panyu Lu. To the north there are theHuangshi (Yellowstone) Hu, the Beidi Hu and the Lu Shui Hu.240 Their boundary is beyond theborders (of China). In the time of Emperor Ling (168-189 AD), the northern part of Shucommandery was again separated and became Wenshan commandery.The Baima Di area was opened up by Emperor Wu in the 6th Yuanding year (111 BC) whocombined it with the western part of Guanghan and it became Wudu. The terrain is dangerousand difficult. There are hemp fields, famous horses, cattle, sheep, lacquer and bees. The Dipeople are brave, honest, resistant, greedy for commodities and profits. They live in Hechi whichis also called Chouchi.241 … They often invade the borders and the commandery counties resistthem militarily but they consolidate and defend themselves. In the 3rd Yuanfeng year (ofEmperor Wu - 112 BC) the Di people rebelled and troops were dispatched and the Di weredefeated and some were moved to Jiuquan commandery.242 In the 1st Yuanfeng year of EmperorZhao (80 BC), the Di people again rebelled and they were attacked and defeated by a large Hanarmy.237 汶山郡: The Wen 汶 of Wenshan commandery is the same as in Wenchuan 汶川 county in Abaprefecture, Sichuan. Wenshan commandery stretched northwest from the area of Mao county in Abaprefecture, which is adjacent to Wenchuan county. Mao and Wenchuan counties are both Qiang areastoday.238 The numbers here are unlikely to be literal but may perhaps represent relative numbers?239邛笼: Qionglong is still a term used today for stone houses with towers found in some Qiang villages.240 It is notable here that the groups to the north are called ‘Hu 胡.’ Chapter 53 mentions the Lu ShuiQiang Hu – see n.102 above.241 仇池: in the area of Xihe and Chengxian counties in southeastern Gansu.242 酒泉: This was a considerable distance – Jiuquan is between Zhangye and Dunhuang at the westernend of the Gansu corridor.
  • 45. In the chaotic period of Wang Mang’s reign (9-23 AD) the Di also rebelled. At the beginning ofthe Jianwu period (25 AD), … the governor of Longxi, Ma Yuan, presented their leaders with theHan seal and silk ribbon. … Later, they also sometimes invaded and plundered and thecommandery counties attacked and defeated them.The final comment at the end of this chapter says that the Han clan mounted punitiveexpeditions against the Rong and Di (戎狄)… Although the Man Yi were nearby, they wereblocked off in their cliff-sided valleys, … and it was impossible to know how far they extended.Their ferocity, bravery and crafty strategies were like that of the Qiang and Di (羌狄). …Chapter 117: 卷八十七 西羌传第七十七 The Biography of the Western QiangThis is a long and specifically Qiang chapter so I have dealt with it as a separate document. Chapter 118: 卷八十八 西域传第七十八 The Biography of the Western RegionsAs mentioned in the introduction above, this chapter has been translated and very thoroughlyannotated by John E. Hill.243 At the beginning of the chapter there is a list of the places described. Itincludes places in today’s Xinjiang, such as Kashgar (Shule) and Yarkand (Shache) but also placesas far afield as Parthia (Anxi) and the Roman empire (Da Qin)244:Jumi, Yutian, Xiye, Zihe, Deruo, Tiaozhi, Anxi, Da Qin, Da Yuezhi, Gaofu, Tianzhu, Dongli, Liyi, Yan,Yancai, Shache, Shule, Yanqi, Pulei, Yizhi, Eastern Qiemi, Jushi. 245The three Qiang references quoted directly from Hill’s translation are as follows:1. In Hill’s Section 1 on the historical background: In a memorial presented to the Emperor, the Imperial Secretary, Chen Zhong says: “…. [The Emperor] managed to open the four commanderies west of the [Yellow] River which cut off the Southern Qiang,246 and gathered in the thirty-six kingdoms [of the Western Regions], cutting off the right arm of the Xiongnu.”2. Further on in Section 1 in Chen Zhong’s memorial: “Now, the Northern Scoundrels [Northern Xiongnu] have already defeated Jushi [Turfan- Jimasa]. They will inevitably head south to attack Shanshan [Lop Nur region]. If we abandon the latter without help, all the kingdoms will follow them. If that happens, the wealth of the Scoundrels [Xiongnu] will increase; their audacity and strength will be multiplied; their fearful reputation will cause the Southern Qiang to join them. Then the four commanderies to the west of the [Yellow] River will definitely be endangered.”3. In Hill’s section 27 ‘The Kingdom of Further Jushi’: “The following year [97 CE], the Han ordered the Chief Clerk, Wang Lin, to put the soldiers of the six commanderies of Liang province on campaign, plus more than 20,000 Qiang prisoners of war and Hu6 to attack Zhuodi. They took more than a thousand Scoundrels’ [Xiongnu] heads. Zhuodi sought refuge on the territory of the Northern Xiongnu, but the Han army followed, attacked, and beheaded him. Nong Qi, the younger brother of Zhuodi was appointed king.”243Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty, 1st to 2ndCenturies CE. John E. Hill. (This includes further notes on the Qiang.)244 John Hill (n.243 above) provides detailed explanations of these locations .245拘弥 于窴 西夜 子合 德若 条支 安息 大秦 大月氏 高附 天竺 东离 栗弋 严 奄蔡莎车 疏勒 焉耆 蒲类 移支 东且弥 车师246 This ‘southern’ is in relation to the Xiongnu who were north of the Qiang.
  • 46. Chapter 119: 卷八十九 南匈奴列传第七十九 The Biography of the Southern XiongnuIn the 6th Yongyuan year (94 AD) …. Feng Zhu led the Tiger Tooth battalion and had it stationedin Wuyuan.247 They stopped there and he dispatched Xianbei, Wuhuan and Qiang Hu soldiersand appointed Su Ba Hui248 to lead the people and their ‘kings’, and also gave gold and silk.In the 4th Yongchu year (110 AD), … the Shanyu (Xiongnu leader) went barefoot andbareheaded, doing obeisance to Pang Xiong, and begged for forgiveness. As a result he waspardoned and was treated as he had been initially. Then he returned the Han men and womenhe had stolen and the Qiang he had plundered and sold on to the Xiongnu, altogether more than10,000 people.In the 1st Yonghe year (136 AD), … Ma Xu, who had been the Colonel Protector of the Qiang,became the Duliao General.In the summer of the 5th year (140 AD), the Southern Xiongnu Julong Kings of the Left, Wu Si andChe Niu, rebelled and led more than 3,000 cavalry to invade Xihe249 and because they againpersuaded the Sage King of the Right to join them, altogether 7-8,000 riders surrounded Meijiand killed the governors of Shuofang and Dai commanderies. Ma Xu, with Liang Bing, theZhonglang General, and Wang Yuan, the Wuhuan Colonel, sent border troops as well as Wuhuan,Xianbei and Qiang Hu, a combined force of 20,000 men, and defeated the Xiongnu in a surpriseattack.This next paragraph is a useful description of changing alliances and the battle for the northernterritories.In the autumn (140 AD), Julong Wusi and his people established Julong king Che Niu as Shanyu.They persuaded the Wuhuan in the east and the Qiang Rong in the west to join them and thevarious Hu – several 10,000 – attacked and defeated the Tiger Tooth battalion of the capital.They killed the commander of Shang commandery and the military Sima and then invaded andplundered the provinces of Bing, Liang, You and Ji.250 Then the administration of Xihe wasmoved to Lishi, that of Shang commandery to Fuyang and that of Shuofang to Wuyuan. [I.e.major disruption for the Han.] In the winter, Zhang Dan, the Zhonglang General, led the Wuhuan(and) various commandery battalions in You province to attack Che Niu, fighting in Mayi. Theybeheaded 3,000 and took many captives, weapons, cattle and sheep. Che Niu and his men led thevarious tribal chiefs … to surrender but Wusi still led his troops and the Wuhuan to invade andplunder. In spring of the 6th year (141 AD), Ma Xu led 5,000 Xianbei cavalry to Gucheng to attackthem, beheading several hundred. Zhang Dan was brave and strong and nurtured his soldierswell and they all obeyed orders. Then, with all of them tied to a rope, they went up TianMountain and won a major victory over the Wuhuan, beheading their commander…and takinghis livestock and property.The remaining three references in this chapter are to a chief or Shanyu of the Xiongnu called QiangQu 单于羌渠. He was a Han-appointed Shanyu, apparently not of the Xiongnu line of leaders, whowas killed in 188 AD. The combination of Qiang and Qu is interesting. As can be seen earlier in thischapter, Qiang were at times taken captive by the Xiongnu and fought with their troops. In Chapter117 of the Hou Han Shu – the Western Qiang biography - there is also a tribe mentioned called the247 五原: Bayan Nur, Inner Mongolia.248封苏拔廆: the placing of the comma suggests this is a four character name but it seems to make moresense that ‘feng 封’ is a verb.249西河250 并、凉、幽、冀四州: this was a vast area extending across northern China today. For an excellentmap of the late Eastern Han period see Rafe de Crespigny:
  • 47. Yiqu Rong 义渠戎 who had a long history in the Gansu area. The fact that they are mentioned inthe ‘Western Qiang Biography’ suggests an overlap with the Qiang. It may have suited the Han toput a puppet Shanyu in place who was not pure-blooded Xiongnu so that he would be easier forthem to control. Possibly Qiangqu was originally of Qiang ancestry.Chapter 120: 卷九十 乌桓鲜卑列传第八十 The Biography of the Wuhuan and XianbeiIn a speech by an official called Cai Yong: “In former times, Duan Jiong was a brilliant general,well versed and trained in military affairs but when problems arose with the Western Qiang, itstill took more than 10 years to deal with them. Today, Yu and Yan just have a strategy, but itwon’t necessarily be better than Duan Jiong’s and the Xianbei multitudes are not weak as theywere in olden days.”The final comment at the end of this chapter highlights the dominance of the Qiang as the mainwestern enemy of the Han in early AD:… The Xiongnu were powerful and prosperous in the Western Han period and the WesternQiang were fearsome in the Eastern Han period.251 And between the reigns of Emperor Ling(168-189) and Emperor Xian (the last Han emperor: 189-220), these two enemies flourishedalternately.BIBLIOGRAPHYBailey, Harold, W. 1982. The culture of the Sakas in ancient Iranian Khotan. (Bibliotheca Persica.Columbia Lectures on Iranian Studies, No. 1.) pp. xii, 109. Delmar, N.Y., Caravan Books. - 2009. Indo-Scythian Studies: Being Khotanese Texts Volume VII. Cambridge University Press.De Crespigny, Rafe. 1984. Northern Frontier: the Policies and Strategy of the Later Han Empire.Australian National University Press. - A Biographical Dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23–220 AD). Brill, 2007. - Map 01: The Later Han Empire in 189 AD., John E. 2009. Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later HanDynasty, 1st to 2nd Centuries CE. BookSurge, Charleston, South CarolinaHitch, Doug. 2009. The Special Status of Turfan. Sino-Platonic Papers, 186, March, 2009.Liu Xinru. 2001. Migration and Settlement of the Yuezhi-Kushan: Interaction and Interdependenceof Nomadic and Sedentary Societies. Journal of World History 12, no. 2 (Fall 2001).Loeschner, Hans. 2008. Notes on the Yuezhi - Kushan Relationship and Kushan Chronology, Angela. 2010. Textiles from the Silk Road: Intercultural Exchanges among Nomads, Traders,and Agriculturalists. Expedition, Volume 52, Number 3, Winter 2010. Penn Museum, Universityof Pennsylvania. Art Literature Web: Chinese version of the Hou Han Shu:匈奴炽于隆汉,西羌猛于中兴.
  • 48. Amendments - 13.12.2011:P1: (added) “My main source and starting point for tracing place locations was”P2: “the Western Regions chief historian, Ban Chao…” changed to “the Chief Official of theWestern Regions, Ban Chao…”P7 n.41: Alternatives offered for ‘参 B171’P45 and p45, n.243 and in the bibliography: the citation of John Hill’s work now refers to his2009 book, Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later HanDynasty, 1st to 2nd Centuries CE, an updated and much expanded and revised version of his 2003on-line annotated translation of Chapter 118 of the Hou Han Shu.