The Perilous Frontier Nomadic Empires and China, 221 BC to AD 1757

Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 1992-07-27
Publisher(s): Wiley-Blackwell
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Around 800 BC, the Eurasian steppe underwent a profound cultural transformation that was to shape world history for the next 2,500 years: the nomadic herdsmen of Inner Asia invented cavalry which, with the use of the compound bow, gave them the means to terrorize first their neighbors and ultimately, under Chingis Khan and his descendants, the whole of Asia and Europe. Why and how they did so and to what effect are the themes of this history of the nomadic tribes of Inner Asia - the Mongols, Turks, Uighurs and others, collectively dubbed the Barbarians by the Chinese and the Europeans. This two-thousand year history of the nomadic tribes is drawn from a wide range of sources and told with unprecedented clarity and pace. The author shows that to describe the tribes as barbaric is seriously to underestimate their complexity and underlying social stability. He argues that their relationship with the Chinese was as much symbiotic as parasitic and that they understood their dependence on a strong and settled Chinese state. He makes sense of the apparently random rise and fall of these mysterious, obscure and fascinating nomad confederacies.

Author Biography

Thomas Barfield has written numerous articles and reviews on Inner Asia and Afghanistan and is the author of The Central Asian Arabs of Afghanistan.

Table of Contents

Editor's Prefacep. vii
Prefacep. x
Acknowledgementsp. xiv
Notes on Transliterationsp. xv
Introduction: The Steppe Nomadic Worldp. 1
Steppe Political Organization and Frontier Relationsp. 5
Cycles of Powerp. 8
Cultural Ecologyp. 16
Nomadic Pastoralism in Inner Asiap. 20
Tribal Organizationp. 24
The Rise of Steppe Pastoralismp. 28
The Steppe Tribes United: The Hsiung-nu Empirep. 32
The Imperial Confederacyp. 36
Foreign Affairs--The Han Connectionp. 45
The Hsiung-nu Civil Warp. 60
Wang Mang: China Tries a New Approachp. 67
The Outer Frontier Strategy in Times of Turmoilp. 70
The Second Hsiung-nu Civil Warp. 71
The Collapse of Central Order: The Rise of Foreign Dynastiesp. 85
The Hsien-pi "Empire"p. 85
The Outer Frontier Strategy Returnsp. 87
The Fall of Han--An End of Two Imperial Traditionsp. 90
Hsiung-nu Military Statesp. 101
Manchurian Borderlands--The Rise of Dual Organizationp. 104
The Hsien-pi Statesp. 105
The Other Northern States: Ch'in and Liangp. 114
The T'o-pa: Third Wave Conquestp. 118
The Jou-jan: Foreign Dynasties and the Steppep. 120
The Sinification of the T'o-pa Weip. 124
The Turkish Empires and T'ang Chinap. 131
The First Turkish Empirep. 131
A Chinese Khaghanp. 139
The Rise and Fall of the Second Turkish Empirep. 145
The Uighur Empirep. 150
A Steppe Civilizationp. 157
The Manchurian Candidatesp. 164
The Collapse of Central Authority on the Steppe and in Chinap. 164
The Khitan Liao Dynastyp. 167
The Jurchen Chin Dynasty Conquers North Chinap. 177
The Steppe Dividedp. 182
The Mongol Empirep. 187
The Rise of Chinggis Khanp. 187
Mongol Political Organizationp. 191
The Mongol Conquestsp. 197
Mongol Strategy and Policyp. 202
Political Succession in the Mongol Empirep. 206
The Yuan Dynastyp. 219
The Dissolution of Yuan Chinap. 222
Steppe Wolves and Forest Tigers: The Ming, Mongols, and Manchusp. 229
Cycles of Powerp. 229
Mongolia in the Post-Yuan Erap. 231
The Oirats and the Mingp. 238
Return of the Eastern Mongolsp. 242
Altan Khan and the Ming Capitulationp. 245
The Rise of the Manchusp. 250
The Early Ch'ing Statep. 258
The Last of the Nomad Empires: The Ch'ing Incorporation of Mongolia and Zunghariap. 266
The Manchu Conquest of Chinap. 266
Ch'ing Frontier Policyp. 275
The Zunghars--Last of the Steppe Empiresp. 277
Epilogue: On the Decline of the Mongolsp. 297
Bibliographyp. 304
Indexp. 313
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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