Han-Era Military Problems

by Mitch on May 2, 2011 0 Comments

Li Guang

With the creation of the Qin and Han empires came the rise of the Xiongnu nomads. These people were considered barbarians by the Chinese because they did not farm or dwell in cities. Instead they lived off of their livestock—mainly horses, cows, and sheep—which they herded from pasture to pasture depending on the season. They were highly mobile, living in tents, and were expert horsemen and warriors. Their ability to strike hard and then disappear made them fearsome enemies, though the real threat came when various Xiongnu groups united in 209 under the leadership of Maodun (Mau-dwun; r. 209–174). This new confederation came in response to the First Emperor sending a general north with one hundred thousand men and successfully pushing the Xiongnu out of border regions. The Qin then established commanderies in these new regions and sent in settlers who built roads, garrisons, and ...

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Han Military Campaigns

by Mitch on March 12, 2011 0 Comments

Eastern Han Heavy Cavalry Spear

Western Han Light Cavalry with Ji-weapon

By far the most important achievement of the reign of Wu Di was the expansion of Chinese power and of the boundaries of territory under Chinese control, and this must now be considered in somewhat more detail. The expansion took place in three directions, to the northwest, the northeast, and the south. The first Han emperor, Gao Zu, as we have seen, faced the problem— even then no new one—of the nomads of the steppes. The Xiong-nu had provided strong anti-Chinese leadership in a regional confederacy of tribes. Some Chinese court opinion was against accommodation and compromise on the grounds that gifts to the Xiong-nu leaders increased not only their wealth but also their power of opposition. On the other hand, the Chinese foreign policy of the doves had been able to turn treaties of peace with the ...

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HAN MILITARY TECHNOLOGY

by Mitch on December 30, 2010 0 Comments

Han Army

Repeating Crossbow was invented in China 400BC and were usually deployed in large formation...It can fire 10 bolts in 15 seconds.

Taxes on the harvest were relatively light, but that is not the whole story. The state also levied an annual poll tax, to be paid in cash, that was assessed on every adult fifteen and older (and at a reduced rate for children between three and fourteen). But the tax burden that was most dreaded was the labor obligation. From the age of fifteen until the age of fifty-six, each Chinese man was required to give a month of labor to the government, without pay, every year. Someone had to dig the canals, build the roads, repair the dikes, mine iron ore, defend against bandits, and transport the tax grain, and it was the taxpayers themselves. These work duties took farmers away from their land and ...

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Chinese General on War Elephant 9-10th Centuries AD

by Mitch on December 6, 2010 0 Comments

 

The Southern Han, based in the far south, was notable for its ultimately unsuccessful struggle to extend its control southwards into what is now Vietnam. This regime was also unique among Chinese states in maintaining a permanent corps of elephants. The animals are said to have been crewed by ten or more men each, although in view of the maximum loads quoted for modern Indian elephants, it is unlikely that they all actually rode in combat. The elephants were successful in battles against several local opponents, but in the Sung invasion of 970 they failed to stand up to crossbowmen, and were routed.

 

Elephants were once widespread in China. As early as the 1st millennium BC, the traveller Yu-Kung called the region of southern Ho-nan 'Country of Docile Elephants'. Elephants took part in battles between the Wu and Chu states in the late 6th century BC In 506 BC, a ...

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Han Dynasty Horse.

by Mitch on November 21, 2010 0 Comments

This terra-cotta horse head is a striking example of Han artistry. Although the Chinese had domesticated the smaller Mongolian pony as early as 2000 B.C.E., it was not until toward the end of the first millennium B.C.E. that the Chinese acquired horses as a result of military expeditions into Central Asia. The horse was admired for its power and grace, and horses made of terra-cotta or bronze were often placed in Qin and Han tombs. This magnificent head suggests the divine power that the Chinese of this time attributed to horses.

 

During the same centuries that saw the height of Roman civilization, China was also the home of a great empire. The fall of the Qin dynasty in 206 B.C.E. had been followed by a brief period of civil strife as aspiring successors competed for hegemony. Out of this strife emerged one of the ...

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THE HAN EMPIRE - The Armed Forces

by Mitch on September 27, 2010 0 Comments

Han Army

Repeating Crossbow was invented in China 400BC and were usually deployed in large formation...It can fire 10 bolts in 15 seconds.

 

The command of the armed forces was also arranged so as to avoid giving excessive powers to a single individual. Officers equivalent to generals were usually appointed in pairs, and, in times of emergency or when a campaign was being planned with a defined objective, those officers were appointed for a specific task; when their mission was fulfilled, their commands were brought to a close. Beneath that level was a complement of colonels whose duties consisted of smaller-scale activities. In addition, the governors and commandants of the commanderies were sometimes ordered to lead forces. The commandants were also responsible for training conscript soldiers and setting them to maintain internal discipline and to man the static lines of defense in the north and northwest.

 

The Han armies ...

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