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[DSL] Re: Chang Chien - The Man who 'discovered' Europe

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  • omabi_us
    Thanks again, Kenneth. I especially enjoy your comments comparing questionable histories to journalsim. Well said. Omabi ... national ... he ... day ...
    Message 1 of 7 , Mar 29, 2006
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      Thanks again, Kenneth. I especially enjoy your comments
      comparing "questionable" histories to journalsim. Well said. Omabi


      --- In DragonSeedLegacy@yahoogroups.com, "Kenneth Blair"
      <Kenneth.Blair@...> wrote:
      >
      > Ok. He is mentioned in almost all histories of Han as a critical
      > influence on Han understanding of the world and even leading to
      national
      > efforts to occupy the silk road...but they always outline the areas
      he
      > initally reached and commentary would say 'about as far a present
      day
      > Afghanistan' so this is why the claims about discovering Europe are
      far
      > fetched. Actual contact between Rome & the Han is not untill Eastern
      > Han, some people debate the supposed arrival of people who claimed
      to be
      > Roman emissaries as authentic.
      > The motivation/cause and outcome of the expedition is not really in
      > question so this is why exaggerations and distortions seem
      > incomphrehensible to me.
      > Goods from the West had been reaching China since East Zhou times
      via
      > the silk road, and visa versa, so any information about the
      destintation
      > of the silk road are still only hearsay on Chang Chien's part. This
      > intelligence wasvery important but it might as well be defined in
      terms
      > of the areas he reached.
      > This does not diminish the effect and the factual aspects of his
      > journey, his endurance and good fortune in returning...but anything
      that
      > was said here about Chang Chien here in 'Lord of the Rim' or
      whatever is
      > either common knowedge in any Han history book or else they got it
      > wrong.
      > It seems a very poor resource for history then and a student
      wouldn't
      > even get a good grade for submitting something like that...at least
      not
      > where I come from.
      >
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: DragonSeedLegacy@yahoogroups.com
      > [mailto:DragonSeedLegacy@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of omabi_us
      > Sent: Wednesday, 29 March 2006 4:01 p.m.
      > To: DragonSeedLegacy@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [DSL] Re: Chang Chien - The Man who 'discovered' Europe
      >
      > Thanks, Kenneth. My interest is pretty much focused on Chang
      Chien.
      > Even if he didn't do half the things credited to him in "Lords of
      the
      > Rim" he remains a fascinating figure. Omabi
      >
      > --- In DragonSeedLegacy@yahoogroups.com, "Kenneth Blair"
      > <Kenneth.Blair@> wrote:
      > >
      > > Sources on what in particular?
      > > The timing, geographical limits of and actual effects of the
      initial
      > > 'discovery' of the silk road will be mentioned in almost any
      > history of
      > > the Han period.
      > > The books proposed connection between a diminishing of steppe
      nomad
      > > raids and these explorations make no sense. Any reading of the
      > concise
      > > accounts of the journey show the original premise of politically
      > > dividing the Xiongnu failed and the Chinese learnt what was
      beyond
      > their
      > > borders but didn't influence the northern military situation at
      all.
      > > The details of the war on Ferghana (not as small a military
      matter
      > as
      > > claimed here) will be in the original Han histories and these
      have
      > been
      > > discussed on CHF in detail.
      > > That the story here reads like journalism (to put it politely)
      > instead
      > > of history can be confirmed if needed.
      > > I suspect a Chinese reader will have much more access to specfics
      > of the
      > > Han period than Westerners who read abridged histories. Either the
      > > Chinese expansive histories or any Western book on the period will
      > > confirm what I said about the illogical version of the silk road
      > > discovery and the diminished Xiongnu raiding.
      > > Xiongu raids still occurred in Wudis time, and the Xiongnu
      > outlasted the
      > > Han as a periodic menace untill displaced by other nomadic border
      > > peoples.
      > >
      > > i.e Clearly if the Qin expeditions & several massive Han
      expeditions
      > > into the Ordos region and the northern steppes amount to excess of
      > > 100,000 troops (draining the West Han economy in Wudis case) then
      > the
      > > claims here that 'raids' of 300,000 Xiongnu were 'common' is what
      > needs
      > > sources. Discussions on the size of Xiongnu forces in Sima Qian,
      > and the
      > > figures given in the Cambridge History of China for Xiongnu
      battles
      > &
      > > Han army sizes in specific incidents respectively are at least 2
      of
      > the
      > > sources that could confirm this version here is almost hysterical
      > > instead of historical in terms of size details.
      > > ....but don't believe me or the authors of this book. Just read
      > whatever
      > > else you find on the subject and the different errors I mentioned
      > will
      > > become apparent.
      > >
      > > -----Original Message-----
      > > From: DragonSeedLegacy@yahoogroups.com
      > > [mailto:DragonSeedLegacy@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of omabi_us
      > > Sent: Tuesday, 28 March 2006 10:51 p.m.
      > > To: DragonSeedLegacy@yahoogroups.com
      > > Subject: [DSL] Re: Chang Chien - The Man who 'discovered' Europe
      > >
      > > Hi Jeming! Yes, as usual, I'm knee-deep in piles, scraps and
      wads
      > of
      > > paper, writing and rewriting. I relish sensationalized "history"
      > as
      > > well as seeing it debunked. Great discussion!
      > >
      > > Please do dig up more files about Chang Chen.
      > >
      > > Kenneth, please share your sources, too.
      > > Omabi
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > --- In DragonSeedLegacy@yahoogroups.com, "kitmengleong"
      <kmleong@>
      > > wrote:
      > > >
      > > > Hi!
      > > >
      > > > Haven't heard from you in a looooong while! How have you
      been?
      > > Busy
      > > > writing your books?
      > > >
      > > > Lords of the Rim is a pretty entertaining read but as Kenneth
      > would
      > > > probably jump in a tell you, written not as serious history but
      > > rather
      > > > sensationally. ;)
      > > >
      > > > I personally love these stories of early explorers too. I
      think
      > > there
      > > > are a whole bunch of other stories in the files area. I'll see
      > what
      > > > else I can dig up for you on Chang Chien if you like.
      > > >
      > > > Jieming
      > > > DragonSeedLegacy
      > > > ChineseCultureOnline
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > --- In DragonSeedLegacy@yahoogroups.com, "omabi_us"
      > <goatmountain@>
      > > > wrote:
      > > > >
      > > > > Thanks for taking the time to post this fascinating
      > information!
      > > I
      > > > > have seen Chang Chien's name mentioned briefly before and am
      > > eager to
      > > > > learn more about him. Sounds like "Lords of the Rim" might be
      a
      > > great
      > > > > place to begin. Any other suggestions?
      > > > >
      > > > > p.s. I'm delighted to have time to check out Dragon Seed
      > > again . . .
      > > > > I've missed you!
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > > --- In DragonSeedLegacy@yahoogroups.com, "kitmengleong"
      > > <kmleong@>
      > > > > wrote:
      > > > > >
      > > > > > Chang Chien (Zhang Qian) - The Man who 'discovered' Europe
      > > > > >
      > > > > > Excerpt from "Lords of the Rim", Bantam Press 1995, Peggy &
      > > > > Sterling
      > > > > > Seagrave.
      > > > > >
      > > > > > "This was the first time China looked outward. As the
      Han
      > > domain
      > > > > > spread far and wide, ambitious young men began careers as
      > > > > > explorers. One who ventured bravely across the steppes of
      > > Central
      > > > > > Asia in 139 BC - fourteen centuries befor Marco Polo and
      > > sixteen
      > > > > > centuries before Columbus - 'discovered' Europe, the
      > > Mediterranean
      > > > > > and the Alantic Ocean. Thanks to Chang Chien's
      > reconnaissance,
      > > > > > nomad raids diminished and the first garrisioned Silk Roads
      > > were
      > > > > > established between China and the West. Another trade
      route
      > > > > through
      > > > > > Burma to Siam and India (long used secretly by Chinese
      > > merchants)
      > > > > > was officially identified. And the sea route from South
      > China
      > > > > > across the Indian Ocean to Arabia and Africa was found to
      be
      > > seeded
      > > > > > already with small Overseas Chinese merchant colonies more
      > than
      > > two
      > > > > > thousand years ago.
      > > > > > Before Chang Chien's secret mission, the Chinese
      government
      > > knew
      > > > > > and cared little about what lay beyond its borders. The
      > > treeless
      > > > > > steppes spread like a broad superhighway from Mongolia to
      > > Bulgaria,
      > > > > > the killing field of wild nmad cavalries. As far back as
      > > 3000BC
      > > > > > merchants in Mesopotamia, Persia and India started long-
      > > distance
      > > > > > caravan trade with each other around the Asian mountain
      > > ranges.
      > > > > > Raiding these caravans and isolated trading posts provided
      an
      > > easy
      > > > > > source of food and luxuries to the nomads. Over the ages
      > they
      > > > > > struck in wave after wave, from the Cimmerians and
      Scythians
      > to
      > > the
      > > > > > Huns and Mongols. They swarmed out of nowhere, massacred
      > > villages
      > > > > > on the edges of the steppes, then vanished.
      > > > > > On China's borders, the most aggressive of these nomads
      > were
      > > the
      > > > > > Hsiung-nu, who ruled the wastes from the Pamirs to
      Siberia.
      > > They
      > > > > > led as many as three hundred thousand horsemen at a time in
      > > > > > homicidal raids on border cities, killing for fun. The
      > Chinese
      > > > > were
      > > > > > unable to wage long punitive campaigns deep into the
      deserts
      > or
      > > > > > steppes because hundreds of wagon teams were needed to
      carry
      > > > > > provisions for as little as three months. When they
      > withdrew,
      > > the
      > > > > > nomads simply resumed their guerrilla raids. In the Han
      > > Dynasty a
      > > > > > new alliance of Hsiung-nu tribes brought a fresh wave of
      fear
      > > to
      > > > > > outlying districts. As first the Han emperors chose the
      soft
      > > > > > weapon, by sending frightened pricesses to the nomad Son-of-
      > > Heaven,
      > > > > > or Shan-yu, but efforts to buy a lasting peace failed
      because
      > > > > > centuries of conflict had made a tradtition of treachery.
      > > > > > Prospects improved when Emperor Wu-ti learned of a split
      in
      > > nomad
      > > > > > ranks. A prisoner reported that the Hsiung-nu had murdered
      > the
      > > > > > ruler of the tribe called the Yueh-chih, and disgraced his
      > > spirit
      > > > > by
      > > > > > using his skull as a drinking cup. The Yueh-chih, who had
      > then
      > > > > fled
      > > > > > westward across the desert with a burning grudge, might no
      be
      > > > > > willing to ally with China against the Hsiung-nu.
      > > > > > The emperor decided to send a secret agent to sound them
      > > out.
      > > > > > Among the officers who applied for the job was Chang
      Chien.
      > A
      > > > > tough
      > > > > > and intelligent soldier, he was a perfect scout because his
      > > good
      > > > > > nature assured him of a warm welcome wherever he went. He
      > was
      > > > > given
      > > > > > the official role of ambassador and set out with a retimue
      of
      > a
      > > > > > hundred guided by a Hsiung-nu prisoner named Kan-fu, an
      > expert
      > > > > > archer who knew secret sources of water in the desert.
      > > > > > Personally, Chang Chien was motivated by curiousity as much
      > as
      > > by
      > > > > > ambition. At a time when expanding the empire was a
      > > fashionable
      > > > > > idea, a poor but talented man could make his fortune while
      > > > > > satisfying his own craving for adventure.
      > > > > > Few Chinese had ever gone by choice into the steppes or
      > > acress
      > > > > the
      > > > > > trackless wastes of the Takla Makan and Gobi deserts.
      During
      > > times
      > > > > > of chaos and insurrection, educated Chinese mandarins or
      > > generals
      > > > > > sometimes defected to the nomads or to the southern
      > > barbarians.
      > > > > > Mountain passes in the north, west and south were
      convenient
      > > > > > doorways to safety...
      > > > > > Chang Chien's party travelled west for many days,
      crossing
      > > > > deserts
      > > > > > and mountain ranges until, deep in nomad territory, they
      were
      > > > > > ambused and taken before the maximum leader, the Shan-yu.
      He
      > > > > > thought their whole mission was ridiculous: 'Do you suppose
      > > that if
      > > > > > I tried to send an embassy to the kingdom of Yueh, that the
      > Han
      > > > > > would let my men pass through China?'
      > > > > > He put Chang Chient under house arrest for the next ten
      > > years,
      > > > > > looked after by the faithful servant Kan-fu. To help pass
      > the
      > > > > time,
      > > > > > Chang Chient was given as beautiful nomad wife, who bore
      him
      > a
      > > > > > strapping son. Eventually the warriors stopped guarding
      him
      > > > > > closely, and Chang Chient fled with his wife and son and
      > > servant to
      > > > > > continue his sacred mission to the west.
      > > > > > Riding as fast as they could to Ferghana, in what is now
      > > > > > Tadzhikistan and Uzbekistan, they were made welcome by its
      > > king,
      > > > > who
      > > > > > provided them with guides and interpreters for the next leg
      > of
      > > > > their
      > > > > > journey. Eventually Chang Chien caught up with the
      displaced
      > > Yueh-
      > > > > > chih people, the original goal of his secret mission. He
      > found
      > > > > them
      > > > > > totally changed. In the intervening years, they had
      captured
      > > the
      > > > > > rich region of Bactria south of the Oxus River and made
      > > themselves
      > > > > > its new rulers, living a sensual and indulgent life at the
      > > expense
      > > > > > of its people. The last thing they wanted was to forfeit
      > this
      > > > > > pleasant existense to resure their old blood feud with the
      > > Hsiung-
      > > > > > nu. As to avenging their dead king whose skull had been
      used
      > > as a
      > > > > > drinking cup - his son was no longer interested.
      > > > > > Bactria, which sprawled from the Caspian Sea down past
      the
      > > Hindu
      > > > > > Kush to the frontier of India, had just been abandoned by
      the
      > > > > Greeks
      > > > > > as the last vestiges of Alexander the Great's empire
      > > collapsed.
      > > > > > There were still many Hellenes in Bactria, so at this
      moment
      > > > > ancient
      > > > > > China was brushing its fingertips against those of ancient
      > > Greece.
      > > > > > Chang Chient learned things no CHinse officer before him
      had
      > > ever
      > > > > > known. After a year in Bactria gathering exotic
      > intelligence,
      > > he
      > > > > > resigned himself to the failure of his original mission and
      > > began
      > > > > > the long trek back to China, hoping that the things he ahd
      > > heared
      > > > > > about the West would keep his head on his shoulders. He
      took
      > a
      > > > > > route from Afghanistan through the Hindu Kush, along the
      > > northern
      > > > > > slope of the Himalayas to eastern Tibet. He planned to
      give
      > > the
      > > > > > Hsiung-nu a wide berth and re-enter China from Tibet,
      through
      > > the
      > > > > > teritory of the less dangerous Chiang barbarians. But as
      he
      > > and
      > > > > his
      > > > > > tiny party were crossing the high desert above the great
      salt
      > > marsh
      > > > > > called Lop Nor, a lunar landscape well known in those days
      > only
      > > to
      > > > > > small herds of wild Tibetan ass, he was ambushed once more
      by
      > > the
      > > > > > wily Hsiung-nu and detained for another year.
      > > > > > The leathery old Shan-yu who had been his host during his
      > > > > previous
      > > > > > captivity chose that awkward moment to die. A rival chief
      > > attached
      > > > > > and set himself up as the new ruler of the nomad
      federation.
      > > IN
      > > > > the
      > > > > > midst of this turmoil, Chang Chien once again fled into the
      > > night
      > > > > > with his family and his trusty servant.
      > > > > > Reaching the imperial court after an arduous mission
      > lasting
      > > > > > thirteen years in all, Chang Chien regaled Emperor Wu-ti
      for
      > > days
      > > > > > and nights with his reports of places far and strange.
      > Instead
      > > of
      > > > > > losing his head, he was rewarded with the post of palace
      > > > > > counsellor. Kan-fu, the former slave, was given the
      > > title 'Lord
      > > > > Who
      > > > > > Carries Out His Missions'.
      > > > > > Chang Chien told his emperor about the nomads, the great
      > > Takla
      > > > > > Makan deser, and the isolated mountain valley of Ferghana
      > where
      > > > > > people raised 'horse so magnificent that they sweat
      blood'.
      > > After
      > > > > > Ferghana, he reported, all the rivers flowed west into the
      > > Caspian
      > > > > > and Aral seas, where there are many potential allies
      against
      > > the
      > > > > > Hsiung-nu. He talked at length about the Wu-sun nomads,
      who
      > > could
      > > > > > muster thirty thousand mounted archers. They were led by
      Kun-
      > > mo, a
      > > > > > legendary warrior who, as a child had been left in the
      desert
      > > to
      > > > > die
      > > > > > but was saved by vultures that fed him meat, and wolves
      that
      > > > > suckled
      > > > > > him. Beyond were other nomads, with ninety thousand
      mounted
      > > > > bowmen,
      > > > > > and around the Aral Sea were the Yen-tsai with one hundred
      > > thousand
      > > > > > archers. Together they could form an army nearly a quarter
      > of
      > > > > > million strong.
      > > > > > The emperor listened spellbound to Chang Chien's accounts
      > of
      > > > > > Bactria, and a kingdom to the south-west called Persia,
      whose
      > > > > people
      > > > > > lived in walled cities and kept records by writing
      > horizontally
      > > on
      > > > > > strips of leather. Among the Persians were merchants from
      > > > > > Mesopotamia, and from a great western sea, the
      > Mediterranean.
      > > > > > Beyond, in a regions that was very hot and damp, were giant
      > > birds
      > > > > > that laid eggs as big as cooking pots. Still farther,
      beyond
      > > the
      > > > > > Mediterranean, were other countires and a great ocean.
      > > > > > 'In my travels, I saw bamboo canes and cloth from our
      > regions
      > > of
      > > > > > Chiung and Chu (Szechuan),' Chang Chien told the
      > > emperor. 'When I
      > > > > > asked how they obtained such articles they told me "Our
      > > merchants
      > > > > go
      > > > > > and buy them in the markets of India."' India, he had
      > learned,
      > > was
      > > > > > a hot, wet kingdom on the great river south-east of Persia,
      > > whose
      > > > > > people rode war elephants into battle. 'Now if the Indians
      > > obtain
      > > > > > trade goods from south-western China, they cannot be far.
      > > Instead
      > > > > > of trying to reach India by crossing the deserts of the
      > > mountains
      > > > > to
      > > > > > the west, a more direct route would be south by way of Shu.'
      > > > > > ....
      > > > > > In recognition of his many discoveries, Chang Chien was
      > given
      > > the
      > > > > > title Marquis Po-wang ("Broad Vision"). he took part in
      > > various
      > > > > > military campaigns against the Hsiung-nu, but misfortune
      > struck
      > > > > when
      > > > > > he arrived late at a rendezvous, and found that his
      general's
      > > army
      > > > > > had been wiped out. Disgraced and sentenced to die, Chang
      > > Chien
      > > > > was
      > > > > > allowed to live only on the condition that he pay a stiff
      > fine
      > > and
      > > > > > give up his noble title.
      > > > > > A chance to redeem himself came when Emperor Wu-ti asked
      > him
      > > to
      > > > > > set out once again far to the west to secure the alliance
      he
      > > had
      > > > > > propsed with the Wu-sun nomads in Turkestan. He was to
      offer
      > > their
      > > > > > leader, Kun-mo, rich gifts and bribes to attack the Hsiung-
      nu
      > > from
      > > > > > the rear. A treaty between China and the Wu-sun would
      > > intimidate
      > > > > > everyone, the emperor said, and they would all grovel at
      > > China's
      > > > > > feet and send tribute.
      > > > > > This time Chang Chien went well prepared, with three
      > hundred
      > > > > > soldiers, six hundred horses, tens of thousands of cattle
      and
      > > > > sheep,
      > > > > > and wagonloads of gold and silk as gifts. When the caravan
      > > reached
      > > > > > Turkestan, Kun-mo was thunderstruck by the sigh of these
      > riches
      > > but
      > > > > > refused to consider an alliance. Chang Chien stopped his
      men
      > > from
      > > > > > unloading: 'The Son of Heaven sent me with these gifts, and
      > if
      > > you
      > > > > > do not prostrate yourself immediately to receive them, I
      will
      > > take
      > > > > > them all back!" This was too much for the ragged nomad
      > chief,
      > > who
      > > > > > threw himself down and offered to sign anything. Before he
      > > could
      > > > > > change his mind, Chang Chien returned to China with the
      > treaty
      > > and
      > > > > > was awarded with the title Grand Messanger. He died
      > peacefully
      > > a
      > > > > > year of so afterward, happy and revered, one of the world's
      > > great
      > > > > > early explorers.
      > > > > > Thanks to his pioneering travels, sweetened with the
      bribes
      > > only
      > > > > > an emperor could dispense, emissaries arrived in China from
      > > India
      > > > > > and Persia For the first time, China established
      diplomatic
      > > and
      > > > > > trade relations with nations on the Caspian, and Black Sea,
      > the
      > > > > > Mediterranean, and the Indian Ocean, countries that a few
      > years
      > > > > > earlier only her much-despised merchants had known existed.
      > > > > > Han's new nomad allies, attacking from the west, helped
      > > defeat
      > > > > the
      > > > > > Hsiung-nu. Emperor Wu-ti personally led a victory parade
      to
      > > > > > celebrate the triumph.
      > > > > > Eager to acquire Ferghana horses for his own stables, Wu-
      ti
      > > found
      > > > > > the breeders reluctant to share their treasured steeds, so
      in
      > > 104BC
      > > > > > he despatched a large Chinese military force beyond the
      > Pamirs,
      > > > > > where they had little difficulty persuading Ferghana's
      rulers
      > > to
      > > > > > change their minds.
      > > > > > Once China's desert frontier was secure, four
      international
      > > trade
      > > > > > routes came into regular use - two Silk roads, north and
      > south
      > > of
      > > > > > the Takla Makan desert, a Jade Road through Burma to India
      > and
      > > > > Siam,
      > > > > > and a sea route across the Indian Ocean. Merchants from
      > Roman
      > > > > > Europe could venture safely along caravan routes guarded by
      > Han
      > > > > army
      > > > > > outposts, stopping in oases where they mingled with Chinese
      > > > > traders.
      > > > > > Bolts of shimmering silk became the luxury item most sought
      > > after
      > > > > by
      > > > > > Roman women."
      > > > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > DragonSeedLegacy
      > > Have Pride, Not Arrogance
      > > Promote Diversity, Not Chauvinism
      > > Yahoo! Groups Links
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > This communication, including any attachments, is confidential.
      If
      > you are not the intended recipient, you should not read it - please
      > contact me immediately, destroy it, and do not copy or use any part
      > of this communication or disclose anything about it. Thank you.
      > Please note that this communication does not designate an
      information
      > system for the purposes of the Electronic Transactions Act 2002.
      > >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > DragonSeedLegacy
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    • kitmengleong
      Hi Omabi, I m not going to tell you that Lords of the Rim is a serious history book. It s an entertaining read which the writer attempts to shock and awe
      Message 2 of 7 , Mar 30, 2006
      • 0 Attachment
        Hi Omabi,

        I'm not going to tell you that "Lords of the Rim" is a serious history
        book. It's an entertaining read which the writer attempts to shock
        and awe rather than report. If half the things he writes in the book
        about the overseas chinese communities is even true, I must have been
        living on another planet. But still, he has based most if not all of
        his writings on historical events and at the least, should point you
        in interesting directions.

        Jieming
        DragonSeedLegacy
        ChineseCultureOnline


        --- In DragonSeedLegacy@yahoogroups.com, "omabi_us" <goatmountain@...>
        wrote:
        >
        > Thanks again, Kenneth. I especially enjoy your comments
        > comparing "questionable" histories to journalsim. Well said. Omabi
        >
        >
        > --- In DragonSeedLegacy@yahoogroups.com, "Kenneth Blair"
        > <Kenneth.Blair@> wrote:
        > >
        > > Ok. He is mentioned in almost all histories of Han as a critical
        > > influence on Han understanding of the world and even leading to
        > national
        > > efforts to occupy the silk road...but they always outline the areas
        > he
        > > initally reached and commentary would say 'about as far a present
        > day
        > > Afghanistan' so this is why the claims about discovering Europe are
        > far
        > > fetched. Actual contact between Rome & the Han is not untill Eastern
        > > Han, some people debate the supposed arrival of people who claimed
        > to be
        > > Roman emissaries as authentic.
        > > The motivation/cause and outcome of the expedition is not really in
        > > question so this is why exaggerations and distortions seem
        > > incomphrehensible to me.
        > > Goods from the West had been reaching China since East Zhou times
        > via
        > > the silk road, and visa versa, so any information about the
        > destintation
        > > of the silk road are still only hearsay on Chang Chien's part. This
        > > intelligence wasvery important but it might as well be defined in
        > terms
        > > of the areas he reached.
        > > This does not diminish the effect and the factual aspects of his
        > > journey, his endurance and good fortune in returning...but anything
        > that
        > > was said here about Chang Chien here in 'Lord of the Rim' or
        > whatever is
        > > either common knowedge in any Han history book or else they got it
        > > wrong.
        > > It seems a very poor resource for history then and a student
        > wouldn't
        > > even get a good grade for submitting something like that...at least
        > not
        > > where I come from.
        > >
        > >
        > > -----Original Message-----
        > > From: DragonSeedLegacy@yahoogroups.com
        > > [mailto:DragonSeedLegacy@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of omabi_us
        > > Sent: Wednesday, 29 March 2006 4:01 p.m.
        > > To: DragonSeedLegacy@yahoogroups.com
        > > Subject: [DSL] Re: Chang Chien - The Man who 'discovered' Europe
        > >
        > > Thanks, Kenneth. My interest is pretty much focused on Chang
        > Chien.
        > > Even if he didn't do half the things credited to him in "Lords of
        > the
        > > Rim" he remains a fascinating figure. Omabi
        > >
        > > --- In DragonSeedLegacy@yahoogroups.com, "Kenneth Blair"
        > > <Kenneth.Blair@> wrote:
        > > >
        > > > Sources on what in particular?
        > > > The timing, geographical limits of and actual effects of the
        > initial
        > > > 'discovery' of the silk road will be mentioned in almost any
        > > history of
        > > > the Han period.
        > > > The books proposed connection between a diminishing of steppe
        > nomad
        > > > raids and these explorations make no sense. Any reading of the
        > > concise
        > > > accounts of the journey show the original premise of politically
        > > > dividing the Xiongnu failed and the Chinese learnt what was
        > beyond
        > > their
        > > > borders but didn't influence the northern military situation at
        > all.
        > > > The details of the war on Ferghana (not as small a military
        > matter
        > > as
        > > > claimed here) will be in the original Han histories and these
        > have
        > > been
        > > > discussed on CHF in detail.
        > > > That the story here reads like journalism (to put it politely)
        > > instead
        > > > of history can be confirmed if needed.
        > > > I suspect a Chinese reader will have much more access to specfics
        > > of the
        > > > Han period than Westerners who read abridged histories. Either the
        > > > Chinese expansive histories or any Western book on the period will
        > > > confirm what I said about the illogical version of the silk road
        > > > discovery and the diminished Xiongnu raiding.
        > > > Xiongu raids still occurred in Wudis time, and the Xiongnu
        > > outlasted the
        > > > Han as a periodic menace untill displaced by other nomadic border
        > > > peoples.
        > > >
        > > > i.e Clearly if the Qin expeditions & several massive Han
        > expeditions
        > > > into the Ordos region and the northern steppes amount to excess of
        > > > 100,000 troops (draining the West Han economy in Wudis case) then
        > > the
        > > > claims here that 'raids' of 300,000 Xiongnu were 'common' is what
        > > needs
        > > > sources. Discussions on the size of Xiongnu forces in Sima Qian,
        > > and the
        > > > figures given in the Cambridge History of China for Xiongnu
        > battles
        > > &
        > > > Han army sizes in specific incidents respectively are at least 2
        > of
        > > the
        > > > sources that could confirm this version here is almost hysterical
        > > > instead of historical in terms of size details.
        > > > ....but don't believe me or the authors of this book. Just read
        > > whatever
        > > > else you find on the subject and the different errors I mentioned
        > > will
        > > > become apparent.
        > > >
        > > > -----Original Message-----
        > > > From: DragonSeedLegacy@yahoogroups.com
        > > > [mailto:DragonSeedLegacy@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of omabi_us
        > > > Sent: Tuesday, 28 March 2006 10:51 p.m.
        > > > To: DragonSeedLegacy@yahoogroups.com
        > > > Subject: [DSL] Re: Chang Chien - The Man who 'discovered' Europe
        > > >
        > > > Hi Jeming! Yes, as usual, I'm knee-deep in piles, scraps and
        > wads
        > > of
        > > > paper, writing and rewriting. I relish sensationalized "history"
        > > as
        > > > well as seeing it debunked. Great discussion!
        > > >
        > > > Please do dig up more files about Chang Chen.
        > > >
        > > > Kenneth, please share your sources, too.
        > > > Omabi
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > --- In DragonSeedLegacy@yahoogroups.com, "kitmengleong"
        > <kmleong@>
        > > > wrote:
        > > > >
        > > > > Hi!
        > > > >
        > > > > Haven't heard from you in a looooong while! How have you
        > been?
        > > > Busy
        > > > > writing your books?
        > > > >
        > > > > Lords of the Rim is a pretty entertaining read but as Kenneth
        > > would
        > > > > probably jump in a tell you, written not as serious history but
        > > > rather
        > > > > sensationally. ;)
        > > > >
        > > > > I personally love these stories of early explorers too. I
        > think
        > > > there
        > > > > are a whole bunch of other stories in the files area. I'll see
        > > what
        > > > > else I can dig up for you on Chang Chien if you like.
        > > > >
        > > > > Jieming
        > > > > DragonSeedLegacy
        > > > > ChineseCultureOnline
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > > --- In DragonSeedLegacy@yahoogroups.com, "omabi_us"
        > > <goatmountain@>
        > > > > wrote:
        > > > > >
        > > > > > Thanks for taking the time to post this fascinating
        > > information!
        > > > I
        > > > > > have seen Chang Chien's name mentioned briefly before and am
        > > > eager to
        > > > > > learn more about him. Sounds like "Lords of the Rim" might be
        > a
        > > > great
        > > > > > place to begin. Any other suggestions?
        > > > > >
        > > > > > p.s. I'm delighted to have time to check out Dragon Seed
        > > > again . . .
        > > > > > I've missed you!
        > > > > >
        > > > > >
        > > > > >
        > > > > > --- In DragonSeedLegacy@yahoogroups.com, "kitmengleong"
        > > > <kmleong@>
        > > > > > wrote:
        > > > > > >
        > > > > > > Chang Chien (Zhang Qian) - The Man who 'discovered' Europe
        > > > > > >
        > > > > > > Excerpt from "Lords of the Rim", Bantam Press 1995, Peggy &
        > > > > > Sterling
        > > > > > > Seagrave.
        > > > > > >
        > > > > > > "This was the first time China looked outward. As the
        > Han
        > > > domain
        > > > > > > spread far and wide, ambitious young men began careers as
        > > > > > > explorers. One who ventured bravely across the steppes of
        > > > Central
        > > > > > > Asia in 139 BC - fourteen centuries befor Marco Polo and
        > > > sixteen
        > > > > > > centuries before Columbus - 'discovered' Europe, the
        > > > Mediterranean
        > > > > > > and the Alantic Ocean. Thanks to Chang Chien's
        > > reconnaissance,
        > > > > > > nomad raids diminished and the first garrisioned Silk Roads
        > > > were
        > > > > > > established between China and the West. Another trade
        > route
        > > > > > through
        > > > > > > Burma to Siam and India (long used secretly by Chinese
        > > > merchants)
        > > > > > > was officially identified. And the sea route from South
        > > China
        > > > > > > across the Indian Ocean to Arabia and Africa was found to
        > be
        > > > seeded
        > > > > > > already with small Overseas Chinese merchant colonies more
        > > than
        > > > two
        > > > > > > thousand years ago.
        > > > > > > Before Chang Chien's secret mission, the Chinese
        > government
        > > > knew
        > > > > > > and cared little about what lay beyond its borders. The
        > > > treeless
        > > > > > > steppes spread like a broad superhighway from Mongolia to
        > > > Bulgaria,
        > > > > > > the killing field of wild nmad cavalries. As far back as
        > > > 3000BC
        > > > > > > merchants in Mesopotamia, Persia and India started long-
        > > > distance
        > > > > > > caravan trade with each other around the Asian mountain
        > > > ranges.
        > > > > > > Raiding these caravans and isolated trading posts provided
        > an
        > > > easy
        > > > > > > source of food and luxuries to the nomads. Over the ages
        > > they
        > > > > > > struck in wave after wave, from the Cimmerians and
        > Scythians
        > > to
        > > > the
        > > > > > > Huns and Mongols. They swarmed out of nowhere, massacred
        > > > villages
        > > > > > > on the edges of the steppes, then vanished.
        > > > > > > On China's borders, the most aggressive of these nomads
        > > were
        > > > the
        > > > > > > Hsiung-nu, who ruled the wastes from the Pamirs to
        > Siberia.
        > > > They
        > > > > > > led as many as three hundred thousand horsemen at a time in
        > > > > > > homicidal raids on border cities, killing for fun. The
        > > Chinese
        > > > > > were
        > > > > > > unable to wage long punitive campaigns deep into the
        > deserts
        > > or
        > > > > > > steppes because hundreds of wagon teams were needed to
        > carry
        > > > > > > provisions for as little as three months. When they
        > > withdrew,
        > > > the
        > > > > > > nomads simply resumed their guerrilla raids. In the Han
        > > > Dynasty a
        > > > > > > new alliance of Hsiung-nu tribes brought a fresh wave of
        > fear
        > > > to
        > > > > > > outlying districts. As first the Han emperors chose the
        > soft
        > > > > > > weapon, by sending frightened pricesses to the nomad Son-of-
        > > > Heaven,
        > > > > > > or Shan-yu, but efforts to buy a lasting peace failed
        > because
        > > > > > > centuries of conflict had made a tradtition of treachery.
        > > > > > > Prospects improved when Emperor Wu-ti learned of a split
        > in
        > > > nomad
        > > > > > > ranks. A prisoner reported that the Hsiung-nu had murdered
        > > the
        > > > > > > ruler of the tribe called the Yueh-chih, and disgraced his
        > > > spirit
        > > > > > by
        > > > > > > using his skull as a drinking cup. The Yueh-chih, who had
        > > then
        > > > > > fled
        > > > > > > westward across the desert with a burning grudge, might no
        > be
        > > > > > > willing to ally with China against the Hsiung-nu.
        > > > > > > The emperor decided to send a secret agent to sound them
        > > > out.
        > > > > > > Among the officers who applied for the job was Chang
        > Chien.
        > > A
        > > > > > tough
        > > > > > > and intelligent soldier, he was a perfect scout because his
        > > > good
        > > > > > > nature assured him of a warm welcome wherever he went. He
        > > was
        > > > > > given
        > > > > > > the official role of ambassador and set out with a retimue
        > of
        > > a
        > > > > > > hundred guided by a Hsiung-nu prisoner named Kan-fu, an
        > > expert
        > > > > > > archer who knew secret sources of water in the desert.
        > > > > > > Personally, Chang Chien was motivated by curiousity as much
        > > as
        > > > by
        > > > > > > ambition. At a time when expanding the empire was a
        > > > fashionable
        > > > > > > idea, a poor but talented man could make his fortune while
        > > > > > > satisfying his own craving for adventure.
        > > > > > > Few Chinese had ever gone by choice into the steppes or
        > > > acress
        > > > > > the
        > > > > > > trackless wastes of the Takla Makan and Gobi deserts.
        > During
        > > > times
        > > > > > > of chaos and insurrection, educated Chinese mandarins or
        > > > generals
        > > > > > > sometimes defected to the nomads or to the southern
        > > > barbarians.
        > > > > > > Mountain passes in the north, west and south were
        > convenient
        > > > > > > doorways to safety...
        > > > > > > Chang Chien's party travelled west for many days,
        > crossing
        > > > > > deserts
        > > > > > > and mountain ranges until, deep in nomad territory, they
        > were
        > > > > > > ambused and taken before the maximum leader, the Shan-yu.
        > He
        > > > > > > thought their whole mission was ridiculous: 'Do you suppose
        > > > that if
        > > > > > > I tried to send an embassy to the kingdom of Yueh, that the
        > > Han
        > > > > > > would let my men pass through China?'
        > > > > > > He put Chang Chient under house arrest for the next ten
        > > > years,
        > > > > > > looked after by the faithful servant Kan-fu. To help pass
        > > the
        > > > > > time,
        > > > > > > Chang Chient was given as beautiful nomad wife, who bore
        > him
        > > a
        > > > > > > strapping son. Eventually the warriors stopped guarding
        > him
        > > > > > > closely, and Chang Chient fled with his wife and son and
        > > > servant to
        > > > > > > continue his sacred mission to the west.
        > > > > > > Riding as fast as they could to Ferghana, in what is now
        > > > > > > Tadzhikistan and Uzbekistan, they were made welcome by its
        > > > king,
        > > > > > who
        > > > > > > provided them with guides and interpreters for the next leg
        > > of
        > > > > > their
        > > > > > > journey. Eventually Chang Chien caught up with the
        > displaced
        > > > Yueh-
        > > > > > > chih people, the original goal of his secret mission. He
        > > found
        > > > > > them
        > > > > > > totally changed. In the intervening years, they had
        > captured
        > > > the
        > > > > > > rich region of Bactria south of the Oxus River and made
        > > > themselves
        > > > > > > its new rulers, living a sensual and indulgent life at the
        > > > expense
        > > > > > > of its people. The last thing they wanted was to forfeit
        > > this
        > > > > > > pleasant existense to resure their old blood feud with the
        > > > Hsiung-
        > > > > > > nu. As to avenging their dead king whose skull had been
        > used
        > > > as a
        > > > > > > drinking cup - his son was no longer interested.
        > > > > > > Bactria, which sprawled from the Caspian Sea down past
        > the
        > > > Hindu
        > > > > > > Kush to the frontier of India, had just been abandoned by
        > the
        > > > > > Greeks
        > > > > > > as the last vestiges of Alexander the Great's empire
        > > > collapsed.
        > > > > > > There were still many Hellenes in Bactria, so at this
        > moment
        > > > > > ancient
        > > > > > > China was brushing its fingertips against those of ancient
        > > > Greece.
        > > > > > > Chang Chient learned things no CHinse officer before him
        > had
        > > > ever
        > > > > > > known. After a year in Bactria gathering exotic
        > > intelligence,
        > > > he
        > > > > > > resigned himself to the failure of his original mission and
        > > > began
        > > > > > > the long trek back to China, hoping that the things he ahd
        > > > heared
        > > > > > > about the West would keep his head on his shoulders. He
        > took
        > > a
        > > > > > > route from Afghanistan through the Hindu Kush, along the
        > > > northern
        > > > > > > slope of the Himalayas to eastern Tibet. He planned to
        > give
        > > > the
        > > > > > > Hsiung-nu a wide berth and re-enter China from Tibet,
        > through
        > > > the
        > > > > > > teritory of the less dangerous Chiang barbarians. But as
        > he
        > > > and
        > > > > > his
        > > > > > > tiny party were crossing the high desert above the great
        > salt
        > > > marsh
        > > > > > > called Lop Nor, a lunar landscape well known in those days
        > > only
        > > > to
        > > > > > > small herds of wild Tibetan ass, he was ambushed once more
        > by
        > > > the
        > > > > > > wily Hsiung-nu and detained for another year.
        > > > > > > The leathery old Shan-yu who had been his host during his
        > > > > > previous
        > > > > > > captivity chose that awkward moment to die. A rival chief
        > > > attached
        > > > > > > and set himself up as the new ruler of the nomad
        > federation.
        > > > IN
        > > > > > the
        > > > > > > midst of this turmoil, Chang Chien once again fled into the
        > > > night
        > > > > > > with his family and his trusty servant.
        > > > > > > Reaching the imperial court after an arduous mission
        > > lasting
        > > > > > > thirteen years in all, Chang Chien regaled Emperor Wu-ti
        > for
        > > > days
        > > > > > > and nights with his reports of places far and strange.
        > > Instead
        > > > of
        > > > > > > losing his head, he was rewarded with the post of palace
        > > > > > > counsellor. Kan-fu, the former slave, was given the
        > > > title 'Lord
        > > > > > Who
        > > > > > > Carries Out His Missions'.
        > > > > > > Chang Chien told his emperor about the nomads, the great
        > > > Takla
        > > > > > > Makan deser, and the isolated mountain valley of Ferghana
        > > where
        > > > > > > people raised 'horse so magnificent that they sweat
        > blood'.
        > > > After
        > > > > > > Ferghana, he reported, all the rivers flowed west into the
        > > > Caspian
        > > > > > > and Aral seas, where there are many potential allies
        > against
        > > > the
        > > > > > > Hsiung-nu. He talked at length about the Wu-sun nomads,
        > who
        > > > could
        > > > > > > muster thirty thousand mounted archers. They were led by
        > Kun-
        > > > mo, a
        > > > > > > legendary warrior who, as a child had been left in the
        > desert
        > > > to
        > > > > > die
        > > > > > > but was saved by vultures that fed him meat, and wolves
        > that
        > > > > > suckled
        > > > > > > him. Beyond were other nomads, with ninety thousand
        > mounted
        > > > > > bowmen,
        > > > > > > and around the Aral Sea were the Yen-tsai with one hundred
        > > > thousand
        > > > > > > archers. Together they could form an army nearly a quarter
        > > of
        > > > > > > million strong.
        > > > > > > The emperor listened spellbound to Chang Chien's accounts
        > > of
        > > > > > > Bactria, and a kingdom to the south-west called Persia,
        > whose
        > > > > > people
        > > > > > > lived in walled cities and kept records by writing
        > > horizontally
        > > > on
        > > > > > > strips of leather. Among the Persians were merchants from
        > > > > > > Mesopotamia, and from a great western sea, the
        > > Mediterranean.
        > > > > > > Beyond, in a regions that was very hot and damp, were giant
        > > > birds
        > > > > > > that laid eggs as big as cooking pots. Still farther,
        > beyond
        > > > the
        > > > > > > Mediterranean, were other countires and a great ocean.
        > > > > > > 'In my travels, I saw bamboo canes and cloth from our
        > > regions
        > > > of
        > > > > > > Chiung and Chu (Szechuan),' Chang Chien told the
        > > > emperor. 'When I
        > > > > > > asked how they obtained such articles they told me "Our
        > > > merchants
        > > > > > go
        > > > > > > and buy them in the markets of India."' India, he had
        > > learned,
        > > > was
        > > > > > > a hot, wet kingdom on the great river south-east of Persia,
        > > > whose
        > > > > > > people rode war elephants into battle. 'Now if the Indians
        > > > obtain
        > > > > > > trade goods from south-western China, they cannot be far.
        > > > Instead
        > > > > > > of trying to reach India by crossing the deserts of the
        > > > mountains
        > > > > > to
        > > > > > > the west, a more direct route would be south by way of Shu.'
        > > > > > > ....
        > > > > > > In recognition of his many discoveries, Chang Chien was
        > > given
        > > > the
        > > > > > > title Marquis Po-wang ("Broad Vision"). he took part in
        > > > various
        > > > > > > military campaigns against the Hsiung-nu, but misfortune
        > > struck
        > > > > > when
        > > > > > > he arrived late at a rendezvous, and found that his
        > general's
        > > > army
        > > > > > > had been wiped out. Disgraced and sentenced to die, Chang
        > > > Chien
        > > > > > was
        > > > > > > allowed to live only on the condition that he pay a stiff
        > > fine
        > > > and
        > > > > > > give up his noble title.
        > > > > > > A chance to redeem himself came when Emperor Wu-ti asked
        > > him
        > > > to
        > > > > > > set out once again far to the west to secure the alliance
        > he
        > > > had
        > > > > > > propsed with the Wu-sun nomads in Turkestan. He was to
        > offer
        > > > their
        > > > > > > leader, Kun-mo, rich gifts and bribes to attack the Hsiung-
        > nu
        > > > from
        > > > > > > the rear. A treaty between China and the Wu-sun would
        > > > intimidate
        > > > > > > everyone, the emperor said, and they would all grovel at
        > > > China's
        > > > > > > feet and send tribute.
        > > > > > > This time Chang Chien went well prepared, with three
        > > hundred
        > > > > > > soldiers, six hundred horses, tens of thousands of cattle
        > and
        > > > > > sheep,
        > > > > > > and wagonloads of gold and silk as gifts. When the caravan
        > > > reached
        > > > > > > Turkestan, Kun-mo was thunderstruck by the sigh of these
        > > riches
        > > > but
        > > > > > > refused to consider an alliance. Chang Chien stopped his
        > men
        > > > from
        > > > > > > unloading: 'The Son of Heaven sent me with these gifts, and
        > > if
        > > > you
        > > > > > > do not prostrate yourself immediately to receive them, I
        > will
        > > > take
        > > > > > > them all back!" This was too much for the ragged nomad
        > > chief,
        > > > who
        > > > > > > threw himself down and offered to sign anything. Before he
        > > > could
        > > > > > > change his mind, Chang Chien returned to China with the
        > > treaty
        > > > and
        > > > > > > was awarded with the title Grand Messanger. He died
        > > peacefully
        > > > a
        > > > > > > year of so afterward, happy and revered, one of the world's
        > > > great
        > > > > > > early explorers.
        > > > > > > Thanks to his pioneering travels, sweetened with the
        > bribes
        > > > only
        > > > > > > an emperor could dispense, emissaries arrived in China from
        > > > India
        > > > > > > and Persia For the first time, China established
        > diplomatic
        > > > and
        > > > > > > trade relations with nations on the Caspian, and Black Sea,
        > > the
        > > > > > > Mediterranean, and the Indian Ocean, countries that a few
        > > years
        > > > > > > earlier only her much-despised merchants had known existed.
        > > > > > > Han's new nomad allies, attacking from the west, helped
        > > > defeat
        > > > > > the
        > > > > > > Hsiung-nu. Emperor Wu-ti personally led a victory parade
        > to
        > > > > > > celebrate the triumph.
        > > > > > > Eager to acquire Ferghana horses for his own stables, Wu-
        > ti
        > > > found
        > > > > > > the breeders reluctant to share their treasured steeds, so
        > in
        > > > 104BC
        > > > > > > he despatched a large Chinese military force beyond the
        > > Pamirs,
        > > > > > > where they had little difficulty persuading Ferghana's
        > rulers
        > > > to
        > > > > > > change their minds.
        > > > > > > Once China's desert frontier was secure, four
        > international
        > > > trade
        > > > > > > routes came into regular use - two Silk roads, north and
        > > south
        > > > of
        > > > > > > the Takla Makan desert, a Jade Road through Burma to India
        > > and
        > > > > > Siam,
        > > > > > > and a sea route across the Indian Ocean. Merchants from
        > > Roman
        > > > > > > Europe could venture safely along caravan routes guarded by
        > > Han
        > > > > > army
        > > > > > > outposts, stopping in oases where they mingled with Chinese
        > > > > > traders.
        > > > > > > Bolts of shimmering silk became the luxury item most sought
        > > > after
        > > > > > by
        > > > > > > Roman women."
        > > > > > >
        > > > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > DragonSeedLegacy
        > > > Have Pride, Not Arrogance
        > > > Promote Diversity, Not Chauvinism
        > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > This communication, including any attachments, is confidential.
        > If
        > > you are not the intended recipient, you should not read it - please
        > > contact me immediately, destroy it, and do not copy or use any part
        > > of this communication or disclose anything about it. Thank you.
        > > Please note that this communication does not designate an
        > information
        > > system for the purposes of the Electronic Transactions Act 2002.
        > > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > DragonSeedLegacy
        > > Have Pride, Not Arrogance
        > > Promote Diversity, Not Chauvinism
        > > Yahoo! Groups Links
        > >
        >
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