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Kadunud leegion Carrhae: kas Rooma leegion sattus Hiinasse?

Kadunud leegion Carrhae: kas Rooma leegion sattus Hiinasse?


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Rooma ja Hiina on kaks suurt tsivilisatsiooni, mis kujundasid nende mõjusfääri kultuure. Need on ka kultuurid, mis näivad olevat enamasti üksteisest eraldatud. Sel põhjusel on igasugune kokkupuude kultuuride vahel ajaloolasi paelunud sellest ajast peale, kui lääne teadlased Hiinat ja Hiina teadlased läänt uurima hakkasid. See hõlmab selliseid lugusid nagu Carrhae kadunud leegion, kelle liikmed võisid sattuda Hiinasse Liqianisse.

Legend Carrhae kadunud leegionist

Legend algab 53 eKr Carrhae lahinguga Rooma kindrali Marcus Licinius Crassuse ja partelaste kindrali Surena vahel. Carrhae asub tänapäevase Süüria-Türgi piiri lähedal. Antiikajal asus see läänes Rooma impeeriumi ja idas Partia impeeriumi äärealade lähedal.

Crassus oli juba üks Rooma vabariigi jõukamaid mehi, kuid tal oli soov pääseda ligi Parthia rikkustele, mistõttu veenis ta senati laskma tal juhtida 42 000 Rooma sõdurit lahinguväljale partelaste vastu. Lahingus said Crassus ja tema armee Surena ja tema 10 000 vibulaskja alandava kaotuse. Crassus üritas sõlmida vaherahu, kuid sai selle käigus surma. Legendi järgi valati vedelat kulda tema ahnuse eest karistuseks kurku. Väidetavalt lõigati tal ka pea maha ja tema keha rüvetati.

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Marcus Licinius Crassuse büst, mis asub Pariisis Louvre'is. (Avalik domeen)

Ellujäänud Rooma sõduritest tabasid partelased neist 10 000 elusalt. Mõne jutu järgi paigutati nad ümber Partia impeeriumi idapiirile. Arvatakse, et suure tõenäosusega saadeti nad praegusesse Türkmenistani. Partilaste kombeks oli saata läänes tabatud sõjavangid Kaug -Itta, et kindlustada oma ustavust idapoolsete rivaalide, hunnide vastu.

17 aastat hiljem, 36. aastal eKr, Han -Hiina impeeriumi läänepiiril peeti Zhizhi lahing hiinlaste ja Hiina klassikalise vaenlase hunnide vahel. Hiina aastaraamatus registreeritakse palgasõdureid, kes võitlevad hunnide poolel, kes kasutasid kalaskaalat. Kalaskaalade moodustamine avaldas hiinlastele muljet ja nad kutsusid sõdureid tagasi Hiinasse ning saama osa piirivalvest kaasaegses Gansu provintsis. Nende jaoks tehti ka linn ja maakond, mille nimi oli Li-Jien või Liqian.

Testudo moodustamine. (Neil Carey/ CC BY SA 2.0)

Kadunud leegion Carrhae ja salapärane armee

Palgasõdurite kasutatav hiinlaste kirjeldus kalasoomuse kujunemisest sarnaneb ähmaselt testudo formeerimine, mida praktiseerisid Rooma leegionid. See on toonud kaasa levinud teooria, mille kohaselt olid need salapärased sõdurid tegelikult Carrhae lahingust pagendatud Rooma leegionärid, kes olid end hunnide palgasõduritena palganud.

Selle idee pakkus esmakordselt välja ajaloolane Homer Dubs. Dubs väitis, et mõned eksiilisõdurid loobusid Rooma tagasi minekust ja palkasid end piirkonna kohalike sõjapealike palgasõduriteks. Mõned neist endistest Rooma sõduritest võisid oma sõjas hiinlaste vastu töötada hunnide heaks.

Selle teooria pooldajad on Liqiani otsinud ja usuvad, et on selle leidnud. Zhelaizhai on kaasaegne küla Lanzhou lähedal. Linna juures on huvitav see, et seal elavatel inimestel on sellised jooned nagu pruunid juuksed ja sinised silmad, mis on vastuolus enamiku ümbritsevate inimeste välimusega. Lisaks leiti väidetavalt kiiver, millele olid kirjutatud hiina tähemärgid ja mis ütlesid: "üks alistunutest". Kaks muud huvipakkuvat eset on Rooma stiilis veepott ja puidust pagasiruum, mille panused sarnanevad roomlaste linnuste ehitamiseks kasutatavate panustega. Külaelanike ilmumine ja ebatavaliste esemete avastamine on viinud paljud legendi usklikud Zhelaizhai Liqianiga samastama. Kuna legendi on populariseeritud, on linn seda kasutanud turistide meelitamiseks, isegi Rooma stiilis hoonete ja kujude ehitamiseks.

Faktide hindamine

Kas on võimalik, et ebatavalise küla elanikud võivad olla ümberasustatud roomlaste järeltulijad? See on äratanud huvi nii Hiina kui ka Lääne teadlaste vastu. Lanzhou ülikooli geneetiline uuring näitas, et linna elanikel on ühendused Euroopaga, mis muudab teooria usutavamaks, kuigi on tõsi, et linn on ehitatud vana siiditee äärde, nii et ühendused lääne elanikega on tihedamad tõenäoliselt olenemata sellest, kas nad olid roomlased. Veel üks seos, mida on täheldatud, on see, et nimi “Li-Jien” kõlab hiina keeles kõneldes “leegionina”. Mõned on kasutanud seda väites, et nimi on algselt sõnast tuletatud.

Teisest küljest kahtlevad paljud teadlased hüpoteesi teostatavuses. Kuigi on võimalik, et rühm Rooma palgasõdureid oleks võinud jõuda kuni Lääne -Hiinani, on see siiski tohutu vahemaa. Ja kuigi on kaudseid tõendeid, pole tõendeid, mis kinnitaksid, et roomlased olid varem Liqianis viibinud.

Rooma sõdurite kaasaegne kujutis. (CC0)

Rooma stiilis potti oleks võinud saada kaubanduse kaudu ja muud esemed pole ainulaadsed Rooma. Samuti ei eelda külaelanike füüsiline välimus ja geneetilised suhted, et nad oleksid otseselt Vahemeremaade päritolu, sest on palju Kesk -Aasia etnilisi rühmi, kellel on ka Vahemere piirkonnaga geneetilised sidemed ja sellised tunnused nagu blondid või pruunid juuksed. sinised silmad.

Isegi kui neil on Euroopa või Vahemere päritolu, ei tähenda see tingimata, et nad pidid põlvnema kadunud Rooma leegionist, kuna linn asub vana Siiditee kõrval, mis muudab abiellumise kaugete reisijatega igal ajal tõenäolisemaks. Need probleemid ei välista teooriat, kuid jätavad selle ka kinnitamata.

Teine probleem on see, et on ebatõenäoline, et nimi Li-Jien on seotud sõnaga leegion. Hiina teadlased, kes on uurinud nime etümoloogiat, ütlevad, et see on seotud Lixuani osariigiga, millel on sidemed Ptolemaiose Egiptusega, kuid mitte Roomaga. Seega, isegi kui on olemas ühendus Vahemere lääneosa maailmaga, on selle vaate kohaselt tõenäolisem pigem Kreeka kui Rooma ühendus.

Egiptuse kuninga (305 eKr - 282 eKr) ja Ptolemaiose dünastia rajaja Ptolemaios I Soteri büst. Identifitseerimine põhineb mündi piltidel. Osaliselt restaureeritud Augustin Pajou poolt. (Avalik domeen)

Kas Liqiani inimesed võivad olla seotud kadunud Rooma armeega?

Kuna Rooma ja Hiina olid antiikajal teineteisest teadlikud ning kahe impeeriumi vahel oli toona võimalik reisida, on see hüpotees usutavam. Võimalik, et Rooma leegion jõudis Hiinasse, kuid tõendid ei ole lõplikud.

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Geneetilisi leide võib tõlgendada ka nii, et linna inimesed pärinevad kohalikust Kaukaasia elanikkonnast ja vaieldamatuid arheoloogilisi tõendeid Rooma kohaloleku kohta muinasajal linnas pole.

Kas see poiss võiks olla Vana -Rooma sugulane? (Unzi ülevaade)

Need probleemid ei välista võimalust, et kadunud Rooma leegion sattus Hiinasse, vaid muudavad selle lihtsalt ebakindlamaks. Üks on aga kindel, et Liqiani inimesed eristuvad piirkonna ümbritsevatest inimestest, see fakt jääb seletamatuks.


Roomlased Hiinas: Carrhae kadunud leegionid

Roomlased esimesel sajandil e.m.a olid võib -olla kõige enam kasvavad impeeriumid. Kuigi sündmuskohal domineerisid Caesari ja Pompeyuse ning Octavianuse ja Marc Antony kodusõjad, juhtus nende ümber palju rohkem. Aastal 53 eKr üritas Rooma armee Spartacuse võitja ja Rooma rikkaima mehe Marcus Licinius Crassuse juhtimisel laiendada Rooma võimu Parthiasse, tänapäeva Iraani. Ta jõudis tänapäeva Harranini Kagu -Türgis, enne kui teda kohtas Partia armee Surena all.

Crassus oli natuke liiga ülemeelik ja lükkas edasi, arvates, et nende alaväärsete barbarite vastu oleks võit lihtne. Ta eksis kahjuks, kuna partlased olid tõhus poolprofessionaalne armee, millel oli kõige eliithobusemängija, keda maailm tol ajal näinud oli. Carrhae lahinguna tuntud tapmisel kaotasid roomlased peaaegu kogu oma armee ja Crassus tapeti. Ülejäänud umbes 10 000 Rooma leegionäri tabati.

Partialastel oli tavaline tava võtta vangistatud sõdurid tööle piirivalvurina. Viies 10 000 leegionäri idapiirkondadesse, hoidsid nad ära roomlaste reaalse põgenemisvõimaluse, kes tõenäoliselt oleksid oma uue osa elus vastu võtnud. Sõdurite andmed kaovad umbes 17 aastaks, kui Zhizhi lahing peeti Hiina armeena Chen Tangi juhtimisel rünnakuks täna Tarazi nime kandvale piirilinnale, mis asub Kasahstanis Kõrgõzstani piiri lähedal. Hiina ajaloolased märgivad, et kaitsjad hoidsid oma kilpe kalaskaalas. Võitlus linna pärast oli tihe, kuid hiinlased võitsid. Hiinlased, kes olid sel hetkel Hani dünastia ajal, olid oma jõu lähedal, see lahing kujutas endast nende suurimat laienemist lääne suunas ja nende võit saavutati osaliselt seetõttu, et paljud kohalikud lahkusid hirmust hiinlaste poole.

Hiinlased olid nendest võõrvõitlejatest nii muljet avaldanud, et panid nad teise piirilinna, seekord valvasid Hiina ja Tiibeti piiri, kuna Tiibeti rüüsteretked polnud sel ajal haruldased. Kõikjal, kus hiinlased tundsid nimega Liqian/Li-Jien, mida hääldatakse leegionina, asus end sisse 100–1000 või enam sõdurit. Need mehed kasutasid teadaolevalt selliseid tööriistu nagu puutüve vastukaalu ehitamise seadmed ja tugevdasid seda piirkonda neljakandiliseks kindluseks, mis on tavaline koht Vahemeres, kuid Aasias üsna haruldane.

Võitnud Surena

Näib, et need roomlased elasid Liqianis rahumeelselt ja 2000 aastat hiljem on meil DNA -tõendeid selle kohta, et üle 50% tänapäeva Liqiani külaelanikest on Kaukaasia päritolu, sealhulgas rohelised ja sinised silmad, suurenenud keskmine kõrgus ja muud iseloomulikud tunnused, nagu selgelt Rooma nina. Väikese küla inimesed on oma esivanematest teadlikud ja uhked, tähistades roomlasi ja näidates üles suurt huvi härgade, Rooma leegionite kõrgelt kummardatud looma vastu.

Rooma leegioni (te) pikk teekond kadus Carrhae's, üle 3000 miili (5000 kilomeetri) kaugusel ja ligi 5000 miili kaugusel Roomast. Autor: Talessman CC BY 3.0

Paljud kaasaegsed ajaloolased lükkavad Hiina leegionäride loo absoluutselt pigem muinasjutuks kui tõeks, kuigi mõned tuntud ajaloolased väidavad endiselt, et see sündmuste jada on täiesti võimalik ja isegi kõige tõenäolisem teooriatest. Jutt sellest, et seda on raske uskuda, ei muuda seda üldse valeks. Kõigis Aasia allikatest pärinevates viidetes ei tundu välismaalased olevat keegi muu kui Carrhae linnas kinni püütud 10 000 leegionäri. Ainuke lünk teadmistes on see, et roomlased läksid partialaste kontrolli alt üle mongolite kontrollile, kuna mongolid pidasid linna Zhizhi lahingus. Tundub, et kas roomlased võeti kinni ja transporditi uuesti või tõenäolisemalt müüdi nad palgasõduritena.

Partia ratsanik. märgata tõmmatud vibu, kui hobune on hüppe keskel. Partlased olid hobuste vibulaskmise asjatundjad. Jean Chardin Jean Chardini poolt ja#8211 CC BY-SA 3.0

Nende "kalaskaala" moodustamine lahingus on peaaegu kindlasti tuntud Testudo formatsioon ja professionaalne praktika viitab kogenud sõduritele. Need roomlased oleksid nende aastate jooksul seltskonda pidanud, nii et on arusaadav arvata, et neil on silmapaistev distsipliin ja nad jätkavad koolitust, mis tooks neil Zhizhis nii muljetavaldava etenduse, et hiinlased kasutasid neid enda kaitsmiseks territooriumil.

Roomlaste kaasaegsed järeltulijad on korralikud tõendid roomlaste kohaloleku kohta, kuid võimalikud on ka kaks muud teooriat. Liqiani linn asus mitmekultuurilise Siiditee lähedal, mistõttu Kaukaasia DNA võis pärineda tee ääres asuvatelt reisijatelt. Teine võimalus on see, et sõdurid lahingus ja Hiina linna asukad olid tegelikult Aleksander Suure armee järeltulijad, kuigi see tundub veelgi ebatõenäolisem, kuna sündmused on Aleksandri kampaaniatest eemaldatud mitu põlvkonda ja Zhizhi armee võitles selgelt professionaalsel ja läänelikul viisil.

Ainsad ülejäänud tõendid, mida loo autentimiseks vaja läheb, oleksid Rooma mündid või muud esemed Liqianis. Kui lugu on tõsi, on see hämmastav lugu traagilisest kaotusest, millele järgneb professionaalse sõduri range järgimine. Selleks ajaks, kui nad Liqianisse elama asusid, olid need sõdurid neljakümnendates ja viiekümnendates eluaastates ning ootasid pensionile jäämist. Nende järeltulijate DNA põhjal tundub, et nad ei allunud paljudele Tiibeti rüüsteretkedele, või võib -olla pandi nad uuesti proovile ja hoidsid lõpuks oma koha.


Kadunud Rooma leegion

Vana -Rooma leegionid moodustasid ühe ajaloost teadaoleva Badassi armee. Kuid nii võimsad, distsiplineeritud ja edukad kui nad olid, polnud nad mitmel korral võitmatud, nad said lahingus lüüa ja mõnikord hävitati kogu dramaatilises lahingus terve leegion või muidu lihtsalt kadusid nad kampaanias. naaseb juhtunut rääkima.

Loomulikult võivad inimesed vabalt spekuleerida, mis juhtus nende leegionäridega, kes tegudes kadusid. Seal tuleb see troop mängu.

Tavaliselt on sellel troopil kaks erinevat viisi:

  1. Lugu järgneb teisele Rooma leegionile, kes on saadetud uurima, mis juhtus kaotatud leegioniga, ja (kui võimalik) taastama oma kotka standardid. Seda kipub ajaloolises ilukirjanduses sagedamini ilmuma.
  2. Lugu järgib kadunud leegioni ennast ja / või selle järeltulijaid (eeldades, et see jätab maha kõik). Kuigi ajaloolises ilukirjanduses on see mõnevõrra levinud, on ruumi, ajas või mõõtmes nihutatud Rooma leegioni ideed ulmes ja fantaasias kasutatud nii sageli, et seda võib pidada klišeeks. Ei lõpe alati õnnelikult.

Paljud lood, mis seda süžeed kasutavad, on inspireeritud kolmest konkreetsest juhtumist, kus Rooma ajaloos tegelikult "kadunud leegionid" olid: Marcus Licinius Crassuse lüüasaamine Carrhae lahingus, kolme leegioni hävitamine Teutobergi metsas või salapärane juhtum. üheksas leegion.


Rooma üheksanda leegioni salapärane kaotus

Rooma üheksanda leegioni kadumine on ajaloolasi kaua hämmeldanud, kuid Inglismaa-Šotimaa piiri võltsinud sündmus võis olla jõhker varitsus, küsib arheoloog dr Miles Russell Bournemouthi ülikoolist.

Rooma Suurbritannia üks püsivamaid legende puudutab üheksanda leegioni kadumist.

Teooria, et 5000 Rooma parimat sõdurit kadusid Kaledoonia keerlevatesse ududesse, kui nad marssisid mässu mahasurumiseks põhja poole, on aluseks uuele filmile „Kotkas”, kuid kui palju sellest on tõsi?

On lihtne mõista Rooma üheksanda leegioni-ebasoodsas olukorras Briti sõdalaste-kaotamise lugude ligitõmbavust, kes põhjustavad hästikoolitatud, tugevalt soomustatud professionaalsele armeele alandava kaotuse.

See on allajääjate ülim triumf - ebatõenäoline lugu võidust koefitsientide vastu. Viimasel ajal on aga lugu imbunud kaugemale nii Inglismaa kui ka Šotimaa rahvusteadvusse.

Inglaste jaoks on üheksanda veresaun inspireeriv lugu omakasvatatud "taavetidest", kes võtavad edukalt vastu halastamatu eurooplase "Koljati". Šotlaste jaoks, arvestades debatti valitsuse ja rahvusliku identiteedi üle, et mitte öelda Bravehearti kultuurilist mõju, on lugu saanud lisavääringu-vabadust armastavad mägismaalased, kes peavad vastu monoliitsetele Londonis elavatele imperialistidele.

Üheksandate legend sai vormi tänu tunnustatud romaanikirjanikule Rosemary Sutcliffile, kelle meistriteosest „Üheksanda kotkas” sai 1954. aastal ilmudes kohe bestseller.

Sellest ajast alates on põlvkondi lapsi ja täiskasvanuid köitnud lugu noorest Rooma ohvitserist Marcus Aquilast, kes rändas Hadrianuse seinast põhja poole, et selgitada välja tõde oma isa kohta, kes oli kaotatud üheksandaga, ja asukohast. Legion 's lahingustandard, pronkskotkas.

Ajaloolased on eriarvamusel, teoreetides, et üheksas ei kadunud Suurbritannias üldse, väites, et nii raamat kui ka film on valed. Nende teooria on olnud palju igapäevasem - leegion oli tegelikult strateegilise ülemineku ohver, kes vahetas Põhja -Inglismaa külma avaruse kuivade jäätmete vastu Lähis -Idas. Siin hävitati nad kunagi enne 160. aastat pKr sõjas pärslaste vastu.

Kuid vastupidiselt sellele seisukohale pole ühtegi tükki tõendeid selle kohta, et üheksas oleks kunagi Suurbritanniast välja viidud. See on vaid oletus, mis on aja jooksul omandanud malmist kindluse. Suurbritanniast üleviimise idee toetuseks on kasutatud kolme templiga plaati, millel on Hollandis Nijmegenist leitud üheksanda ühiku number.

Kuid need kõik näivad pärinevat 80ndatest pKr, kui üheksandate üksused olid tõepoolest Reini jõel germaani hõimudega võitlemas. Nad ei tõesta, et üheksas lahkus Suurbritanniast lõplikult.

Tegelikult pärineb viimane kindel tõend leegioni olemasolu kohta kõikjalt Rooma impeeriumist Yorgist, kus pealdis, mis pärineb aastast 108 pKr, arvestab üheksandat linnuse kivisse ehitamisega. Mõni aeg ajavahemikul kuni teise sajandi keskpaigani, kui koostati kõigi leegionide rekord, oli üksus lakanud olemast.

Aga mis juhtus üheksandaga?

II sajandi algusaastad olid Britannia jaoks sügavalt traumeerivad. Rooma kirjanik Fronto täheldas, et keiser Hadrianuse valitsemisajal (117-138 pKr) tapsid britid suure hulga Rooma sõdureid.

Nende kahjude arv ja kogu ulatus on teadmata, kuid need olid ilmselt märkimisväärsed. 3. sajandil koostatud anonüümselt koostatud Augustani ajalugu annab täiendavaid üksikasju, märkides, et kui Hadrianus sai keisriks, ei saanud & quotthe britte Rooma kontrolli all hoida.

Briti probleem valmistas Rooma keskvalitsusele sügavat muret. Tänu Itaalias Ferentinumilt leitud hauakivile teame, et Hadrianuse ja#x27 valitsemisaja alguses kiirustati saarele Briti ekspeditsioonil & quotthe üle 3000 mehe. Keiser ise külastas saart 122. aastal pKr, et & quot; parandada palju vigu & quot & quot;, tuues endaga kaasa uue leegioni, kuuenda.

Asjaolu, et nad asusid elama Yorki leegionäride kindlusesse, viitab sellele, et Fronto vihjatud "suured kaotused" olid aset leidnud üheksandate ridades.

Tundub, et Sutcliffil oli lõppude lõpuks õigus.

See oli üheksas, kõige paljastatud ja põhjapoolsem kõigist Suurbritannia leegionidest, kes oli ülestõusu kandnud, lõpetades oma päevad mässulistega võitlemisel II sajandi alguse Suurbritannia segaduses.

Sellise eliitväeosa kaotamisel oli ootamatu keerdkäik, mis kajastub tänapäevani. Kui keiser Hadrianus vägede suure hooga eesotsas Suurbritanniat külastas, mõistis ta, et saare stabiilsuse tagamiseks on ainult üks võimalus - ta peab ehitama müüri.

Hadrianuse seina eesmärk oli hoida sissetungijad Rooma territooriumilt eemal ning tagada, et provintsi potentsiaalsetel mässulistel poleks lootust saada toetust oma liitlastelt põhja poole. Sellest hetkest alates arenesid kultuurid mõlemal pool suurt lõhet erineva kiirusega ja väga erineval viisil.

Üheksanda lõplik pärand oli püsiva piiri loomine, mis lõhestas Suurbritannia igavesti. Inglismaa ja Šotimaa iseseisvateks kuningriikideks saamise alguse võib otsida selle õnnetu Rooma leegioni kaotusest.

Dr Miles Russell on Bournemouthi ülikooli eelajaloolise ja rooma arheoloogia vanemõpetaja.


Episood 3 - Kas kadunud Rooma leegion asus elama Vana -Hiinasse?

1957. aastal avaldas Ameerika sinoloog Homer H. Dubs Rooma linn Hiinas, raamat, milles kirjeldatakse akadeemiku teooriat, et rühm Rooma sõdureid töötas impeeriumi lääneservas Lääne -Han -dünastia piirivalvurina. Dubs soovitab, et need iidsed väliseestlased elasid üle Rooma katastroofilisest kaotusest Parthiale Carrhae lahingus aastal 53 eKr, kolides seejärel Partia impeeriumi idarindele, enne kui leidsid lõpuks lahingu Hiina vägedega. Dubs väidab, et lüüasaamise tõttu kolis Lääne-Hani dünastia kohatuid leegionäre „spetsiaalselt loodud piirilinna, millele hiinlased andsid loomulikult oma nime Roomaks, mis oli Lijien (nüüd Liqian)”.

Tänapäeval on Liqian Gansu provintsis asuv muldkividega majade väike küla ja aastakümnete jooksul pärast selle avaldamist Rooma linn Hiinas, Dubsi teooria on viinud linna külastama teadlasi, arheolooge ja isegi geneetikuid, kes kõik soovivad vastata samadele ahvatlevatele küsimustele: kas Rooma leegion asus elama Vana -Hiinasse? Ja kui jah, siis kas need, kes täna Liqianis elavad, on nende kadunud vägede järeltulijad?


Kas teooria vastab tõele?

Paljud hiljutised uuringud on pühendatud sellele, et näidata, et see teooria on vale. Tegelikult näivad hiljutised geneetilised uuringud välistavat Rooma päritolu hüpoteesi.

Lisaks pole kummaline, et selle piirkonna elanikkonnas ilmnevad kaukaasia omadused, kuna Siiditee soosis rassidevahelisi abielu, kuid veelgi olulisem on asjaolu, et piirkonna algne elanikkond (palju vanem kui roomlased ja Hani dünastia) , on teadaolevalt olnud kaukaasia omadustega nomaadid, nagu on näidanud Tarimi muumiad. See, et Rooma päritolu esemeid pole siiani leitud, vähendab ka teooria legitiimsust.

Isiklikult arvan, et see on elegantne teooria, mis on andnud Liqiani elanikele uhkustunde, vaadake neid fotosid. Peale selle on see piirkonnas loonud majandusarengu, meelitades ligi ka eksinud turiste. Seega, kus on kahju Liqiani kuulutamiseks Rooma kadunud leegioni asutatud linnaks?


Kas rühm kadunud Rooma sõdureid leidis Hiinast linna?

Seal on väga populaarne lugu sellest, kuidas väidetavalt esimesel sajandil eKr grupp Rooma sõdureid tahtmatult oma teed kogu Aasia mandril ründas, sõdides palgasõduritena erinevate rahvaste eest ja sattusid teiste kätte, enne kui lõpuks Hiinasse elama asusid. . See on tõeliselt põnev lugu, kuid kahjuks pole sellel tõde.

Lugu niinimetatud "kadunud Rooma leegionist"

Alustame sellest loo osast, millest me teame, et see tõesti juhtus. 50ndatel eKr laiendas hiline Rooma Vabariik oma mõju Lähis -Idasse. Suurt osa Lähis -Idast valitses sel ajal aga Partia Pärsia impeerium. See viis roomlased ja partelased loomulikult konflikti. Umbes mai alguses 53 eKr astusid Rooma väed kindral Marcus Licinius Crassuse juhtimisel vastamisi partelastega Harrani paigas praeguse Türgi kaguosas Carrhae lahingus.

Kõik, mis roomlaste jaoks võis valesti minna, läks valesti. Roomlaste liitlased hülgasid nad enne lahingut, võttes kaasa peaaegu kogu ratsaväe. Partia armee, millega nad silmitsi seisid, koosnes umbes 9000 hobuse vibulaskjast ja umbes 1000 katafraktist. Isegi kui roomlastel oli palju rohkem inimesi, olid nad täiesti hämmingus. Ligi 20 000 roomlast tapeti ja umbes 10 000 vangistati. Crassusel endal raiuti pea maha. Kokkuvõttes oli lahing roomlastele alandav kaotus.

Ülal: Rooma marmorist portreepea Marcus Licinius Crassusest, Rooma kindralist, kes juhtis vägesid Carrhae lahingus. Partelased raiusid Crassusel pea maha. Need tema väed, kes ellu jäid ja vallutati, transporditi Partia impeeriumi idapiiridele.

Lahingu üle elanud Rooma leegionärid, kes parteide poolt vangi võeti, saadeti Partia impeeriumi kaugemasse idapoolsesse otsa. Keegi ei tea kindlalt, mis nendega edasi juhtus, kuid Ameerika sinoloog Homer Dubs (elas 1892–1969) pakkus 1941. aastal välja äärmiselt jultunud ja spekulatiivse hüpoteesi.

Aastal 36 eKr, umbes seitseteist aastat pärast Carrhae lahingut, juhtis Hiina Han -dünastia läänepiirkondade kuberneri ülema asetäitja Chen Tang löögijõudu tuhande miili kaugusel Han -dünastia piiridest, et rünnata ja tappa Xiongnu. juht Zhizhi, kes viibis sel ajal Kesk -Aasias praeguse Usbekistani territooriumil asuvas Kangju kuningriigis.

Endise hani ajalugu, Hani dünastia ajalugu 206 eKr kuni 23 pKr, mille koostas umbes 11 pKr ajaloolane Ban Gu (elas 32–92 pKr) varasemate allikate põhjal, märgib, et Chen Tangi rünnaku ajal Zhizhi kindlusele „rohkem kui sada ”Zhizhi sõdurit rivistusid“ kalaskaalasesse koosseisu ”. Endise hani ajalugu samuti märgitakse, et linnaväraval oli kahekordne palisaad.

Dubs märkas hämmastavat sarnasust Zhizhi sõdurite poolt Chen Tangi rüüsteretke käigus tehtud „kala skaala moodustise” vahel, nagu on kirjeldatud artiklis Endise hani ajalugu ja kuulus Rooma testudo (st "kilpkonn") moodustis, milles rühm roomlasi kattaks oma kilbid nii külgedel kui ka tippudel, et anda endale täielik kaitsekate vaenlaste eest. Kahekordse palisaadi mainimine meenutas talle tugevalt ka roomlasi.

Dubs spekuleeris, et võib -olla võisid pärast Carrhae lahingut vangi sattunud roomlased partelased Zhizhisse vahetada või võib -olla põgeneda partelastest ja liituda Zhizhiga. Ta tegi ettepaneku, et võib -olla tegelikult sõdurid, kes Chen Tangi haarangu ajal „kalakatte moodustasid” olid Rooma sõdurid.

Endise hani ajalugu registreerib, et pärast Chen Tangi reidi tabati 145 vaenlase sõdurit ja umbes tuhat alistus. Vangid jagati orjadeks erinevate kuningate vahel, kes olid Chen Tangi ekspeditsiooni toetanud. Dubs oletas, et võib -olla olid vangistatud ka roomlased.

Dubs märkas, et umbes 5. pKr toimunud Hiina rahvaloendusel registreeritakse Loode -Hiinas Gansu provintsis linna nimega “Líqián” (驪 靬), mis oli üks paljudest Rooma impeeriumi hiina nimedest. Dubs oletas, et selle linna võisid rajada roomlased, kes tema arvates olid hiinlased vallutanud pärast rünnakut Zhizhi kindlusele.

ÜLEMAL: Rooma sõdurite kujutamine testudo kujunemisel Traianuse veerust, mis ehitati ajavahemikus u. 107 ja c. 113 pKr.

Ülal: Foto Wikimedia Commonsist kaasaegsetest reenaktoritest, kes taasloovad Rooma testudot

Liqiani (endine Zhelaizhai) kaasaegne kaubamärgi muutmine

Kui Dubs kirjutas, oli Gansu provintsis linn umbes samas kohas kui iidne Liqiani linn, tuntud kui Zhelaizhai. Paljudel Zhelaizhai elanikel on traditsiooniliselt euroopalikke tunnuseid, näiteks kõrge nina, kahvatu nahk, pruunid, punased või isegi blondid juuksed ja sinised või rohelised silmad. Paljud inimesed nägid neid füüsilisi jooni tõendina, et nad põlvnevad kadunud Rooma leegioni liikmetest, kes väidetavalt asustasid Liqiani.

Viimase aastakümne jooksul on Zhelaizhai linn entusiastlikult omaks võtnud idee, et osa sealsetest inimestest võib pärineda kadunud Rooma leegioni liikmetest. Turistide meelitamiseks nimetas linn end iidse linna järgi ametlikult ümber Liqianiks. Linn on ehitanud ka mitmeid avalikke mälestisi, mis edendavad oma rahva Rooma pärandi ideed.

Näiteks püstitas Liqian monumendi, mis kujutas Hui moslemi naist, hani õpetlast ja Rooma sõdurit. Nad püstitasid teise monumendi, mis sisaldas Rooma sõdurite tavapäraseid kujutisi koos kuulsate Rooma skulptuuride koopiatega, sealhulgas Prima Porta August ja Ludovisi Gallia. Vähemalt ühel hetkel rääkis Liqiani linn isegi Colosseumi täiemahulise koopia ehitamisest.

Yongchangi muuseumis on neil isegi ametlik video, mida nad külastajatele näitavad, selgitades põnevat lugu sellest, kuidas Liqiani väidetavalt Rooma sõdurid asutasid. Lõbusalt aga kasutab video kaadreid 2007. aasta fantaasiamängufilmist 300—mis räägib näiliselt Thermopylai lahingust, mida võitles kreeklaste koalitsioon Achaemenid pärslaste ja nende liitlaste vastu 480 eKr - esindamaks Carrhae lahingut, mis võitles roomlaste ja partelaste vahel 53 eKr.

Ilmselt ei osanud video teinud inimesed vahet teha kreeklastel ja roomlastel ega ahhameniididest pärslastel ja partelastel. Samuti on ilmne, et keegi ei öelnud neile, kui kohutavalt ebatäpne 300 on, sest nagu ma käesolevas novembris 2019 kirjutatud artiklis arutlen, on film peaaegu puhas fantaasia, millel on väga vähe ajaloolisi fakte.

Ülal: monument hui mosleminaise, hani mehe ja Rooma sõduri liqi keeles

Ülal: Foto Liqiani mälestusmärgist koos Rooma sõdurite tavapäraste kujutistega koos erinevate kuulsate Rooma kujude koopiatega, sealhulgas Prima Porta August ja Ludovisi Gallia

"Kadunud Rooma leegion" lagunes

On lihtne mõista, miks Dubi hüpotees on haaranud. WHO ei teeks tahaks uskuda, et oli rühm Rooma sõdureid, kes parteide kätte saadi, kes võitlesid palgasõduritena hunide sõjapealiku eest, kelle hani hiinlased vallutasid ja kes lõpuks elama asusid Loode -Hiinas asuvasse linna nende kodumaa?

Kahjuks on Dubi hüpotees peaaegu kindlasti vale ja seda toetavad tõendid on peaaegu koomiliselt nõrgad. Alustuseks vaatame Dubsi tõendeid Rooma sõdurite kohaloleku kohta Zhizhi kindluse rünnakul. Esiteks ei saa me isegi olla kindlad, et aastal mainitud „kalakaala moodustis” Endise hani ajalugu on isegi midagi, mis meenutaks Rooma testudot, on lihtsalt liiga ebamäärane, et selle põhjal mingeid spekulatsioone teha.

Even if the “fishscale formation” were indeed a Roman-style testudo, there is no reason to assume that the soldiers at Zhizhi’s stronghold were Romans themselves. Although the testudo formation and double palisade are characteristic of Roman-style warfare, these are ideas and tactics that someone else could have easily come up with independent of the Romans.

Furthermore, even if we assume that the “fishscale formation” was a Roman-style testudo and that the ideas for the testudo and double palisade did indeed come from the Romans, this would not necessarily mean that the soldiers at the battle must have been Romans themselves. In fact, it would actually make far more sense to assume that Zhizhi’s soldiers simply learned these tactics from the Romans.

We have no historical records that could possibly explain how a group of Roman soldiers captured by the Parthians could have wound up fighting as mercenaries for Zhizhi and, frankly, it sounds rather implausible. On the other hand, it is not entirely unreasonable to think that some of the forces fighting for Zhizhi could have encountered the Romans captured by the Parthians at some point and adopted some of their tactics. Certainly, a double palisade would have been easy to adopt. The testudo formation would have been more difficult, but we do not know if the “fishscale formation” was really a testudo anyways.

As for the existence of the town by the name of “Liqian,” this really means absolutely nothing. I personally do not speak Chinese, but I have consulted with someone who does and they have told me that the name Líqián literally means something like “Black Horse.” It is perfectly understandable why a town that was not founded by Roman soldiers might have a name like this.

Now, it has been pointed out that, in 9 AD, the name of the town of Liqian was changed to a phrase meaning “A Prisoner Raised Up,” but this does not really mean anything either, since there were lots of “prisoners” who were “raised up” in antiquity. None of this proves that the town was founded by Roman soldiers who had been captured during Chen Tang’s raid of Zhizhi’s fortress.

There are also serious problems here. No artifact of Roman origin has ever been found in the immediate area of Liqian—no Roman coins, no Roman weaponry, no Roman armor, no Roman anything. Furthermore, a genetic study conducted in 2007 on modern-day natives from the immediate area failed to detect any evidence of Italian ancestry in any of them. The study did detect some evidence of Indo-European ancestry in some of them, but, as I shall get to in a moment, this is hardly surprising and certainly does not constitute evidence of Roman ancestry.

Only a die-hard romanticist could fail to see the serious flaws in Dubs’s hypothesis here. Dubs builds speculation on top of speculation with only a few tiny tidbits of evidence tossed in along the way. The only reason why Dubs’s hypothesis is so popular is because it makes for such a thrilling story. The tale of a small group of Roman soldiers from Italy fighting and being captured all the way across Asia before eventually settling in northwest China in a city named after their homeland has all the making of an epic poem or a Hollywood film. Unfortunately, it probably never happened.

The real reason why so many people from Liqian look European

Many people are probably wondering, “Well, if they probably don’t have Roman ancestors, then why do so many people from Liqian look European?” The answer is that the reason why so many people from Liqian look European is because many of them probably have distant ancestors who ultimately came from Europe. Those European ancestors, though, probably weren’t Romans, but rather members of another nation—a nation that has been practically erased from history.

One thing that is often left out of the discussion over whether the Romans actually went to China is the fact that Liqian is not the only place in western China where you can find large numbers of people with features that we normally think of as “European.” There are actually people all throughout northwestern China with blond hair, blue eyes, pale skin, and other traditionally “European” features.

To find the reason why so many people in western China have features that are normally seen as European, we have to go back long before the Romans. Sometime around the fifth millennium BC or thereabouts, millennia before the Roman Empire was even an idea in someone’s head, there was a people known as the Proto-Indo-Europeans. The Proto-Indo-Europeans were nomadic herdsmen who probably lived in the steppes north of the Black Sea in what is now eastern Ukraine and southwest Russia. They spoke a language which linguists have termed “Proto-Indo-European.”

ABOVE: Map from Wikimedia Commons showing the migrations of various Indo-European groups out of the Indo-European homeland or Urheimat and across much of Europe and southwest Asia

Sometime perhaps around 3,500 BC or thereabouts, the Proto-Indo-Europeans began to migrate out of their homeland in the steppes north of the Black Sea across Europe and much of western Asia. As they spread across Eurasia, they brought their language and their culture along with them. The vast majority of European languages, along with many Indian and Iranian languages, are directly derived from Proto-Indo-European.

There was one group of Indo-European people who went further east than any of the others. These people settled in the Tarim basin in what is now the Xinjiang region of northwest China. We do not know much about these early Indo-European settlers of the Tarim basin, because they did not have written records at first, but we do know that many of them bore features commonly associated with northeastern Europeans because a large number of mummies have been found in the Tarim basin dating between c. 1800 BC and c. 200 AD bearing obviously European features.

By around the second century BC, numerous city-states of people speaking Indo-European languages had arisen in the Tarim basin. In around the fifth century AD, the Indo-European peoples of the Tarim basin began writing in their native languages, which linguists have dubbed “Tocharian.” There are three known Tocharian languages: Tocharian A, Tocharian B, and Tocharian C. The people who spoke these languages are known as “Tocharians.”

Many Tocharians had European features. Chinese sources describe the Tocharians as predominately light-skinned, blond or red-haired, and blue or green-eyed, with high noses and full beards. A Tocharian fresco from the Qizil Caves in the Tarim basin depicts Tocharian men with pale skin and blond hair.

ABOVE: Sixth-century AD Tocharian fresco from Qizil Caves in the Tarim basin depicting Tocharian men with pale skin and blond hair

ABOVE: Wooden tablet dating to between c. 400 and c. 800 AD with writing in Tocharian B

In 640 AD, Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty began a campaign against the Tocharian city-states of the Tarim basin. The Tocharians were conquered and brought under the rule of the Tang Dynasty. Later in the eighth century AD, the Uyghur Turks settled in the Xinjiang. The Tocharians largely assimilated into Uyghur culture and intermarried with the Uyghurs. To this day, many Uyghurs have still pale skin, blond or red hair, and blue or green eyes.

The Uyghurs are not the only ones in northwest China who probably have Tocharian ancestors, however the Tocharians have left a significant genetic footprint on northwestern China as a whole. Thus, many people who live in northwestern China have distant ancestors who lived in the steppes of Ukraine and southwest Russia many thousands of years ago.

Ancient Tocharian features such blond hair, pale skin, high noses, and blue eyes still occasionally resurface in the native populations of this region of China. See is probably the reason why so many people from Liqian look European. It is probably not because they have Roman ancestors it is far more likely because they have Tocharian ancestors.

Honestly, Roman ancestors don’t make especially much sense as an explanation for why some people in western China have blond hair and blue eyes anyway, since the Romans were Italian. The population of Italy hasn’t changed drastically since ancient times and, back then, blond hair and blue eyes were just as rare in Italy as they are now. Obviously, there are some people in Italy who do have blond hair and blue eyes, but these features are not nearly as common in Italy as they are in, say, southwest Russia or Ukraine.

ABOVE: Photograph from Wikimedia Commons of a blond-haired, blue-eyed Uyghur girl from Turpan, Xinjiang, China. To this day, many Uyghurs still have blond hair, blue eyes, and other features traditionally seen as European.

In the end, Homer Dubs’s hypothesis has effectively became a modern legend. There is really no evidence to support it, but many people go on believing in it anyways because it makes for a good story. In much the same way that Vergil’s Aeneid furnished a founding myth for the Roman people by claiming that the Romans were descendants of Aeneas, a hero who fought for Troy in the Trojan War, Dubs’s hypothesis has provided a founding myth for the city of Liqian by claiming that the people of Liqian are descendants of Roman soldiers, captured first by the Parthians and later by the Chinese. I expect that, with future generations, the legend will probably only be further elaborated until perhaps it gets an epic of its own.

Ultimately, there oli some contact between the Roman Empire and the Han Empire, but it was largely limited to a handful of merchants and embassies. In ancient Roman sources, Chinese people are referred to as “Seres.” The Roman historian Lucius Annaeus Florus (lived c. 74 – c. 130 AD) records in his Rooma ajaloo epitoom 2.34 that “Seres” and Indians came from the far east to the court of the Roman emperor Augustus (ruled 27 BC – 14 AD), bearing gifts of precious gems, pearls, and elephants. Here is what he writes, as translated by E. S. Forster:

“Now that all the races of the west and south were subjugated, and also the races of the north, those at least between the Rhine and the Danube, and of the east between the Cyrus and the Euphrates, the other nations too, who were not under the rule of the empire, yet felt the greatness of Rome and revered its people as the conqueror of the world.

For the Scythians and the Sarmatians sent ambassadors seeking friendship the Seres [i.e., Chinese] too and the Indians, who live immediately beneath the sun, though they brought elephants amongst their gifts as well as precious stones and pearls, regarded their long journey, in the accomplishment of which they had spent four years, as the greatest tribute which they rendered and indeed their complexion proved that they came from beneath another sky.”

The History of the Later Han records that, in 166 AD, a group of emissaries arrived at the court of Emperor Huan claiming to have been sent by “Andun” (安敦), the king of “Daqin.” “Daqin” was the most common Chinese name for the Roman Empire. The “Andun” mentioned in The History of the Later Han is most likely the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (ruled 161 – 180 AD).

The History of the Later Han states that the arrival of this embassy was the first time there had been direct diplomatic contact between the Chinese and the people of Diqin, which suggests that the “Seres” at the court of Augustus mentioned by Florus were probably independent merchants and not an official embassy sent by the Han emperor.


A Roman Legion Lost in China.

The battle of Carrhae[1] ended fifty-three years before the birth of Jesus Christ, on the last day of May. It was a shameful disaster for the Roman army: seven legions with the strength of 45,000 men were humiliated and routed by 10,000 Parthian archers.

The commanding officer of the unfortunate expedition was Marcus Licinius Crassus, a sixty-two-year-old tribune eager for glory and wealth, even though he was already the richest man in Rome. He organized the campaign – perhaps also because he envied the military successes of Pompey and Caesar, and foolishly thought his amateur dramatics might equal their professionalism. His only triumph had been achieved with Pompey’s help: the bloody suppression of Spartacus and his slaves. He had insufficient experience to embark on a large-scale operation himself thus, Rome’s Republican government were loathe to let him depart with such a sizeable army, especially since there was no real emergency in the east. During the heated public debate about the excursion, a tribunus plebis named Ateius argued vehemently in opposition. Plutarch wrote that, when Ateius realised that his efforts were in vain and that he would not receive enough supporting votes, he theatrically lit a brazier and, while throwing grains of incense onto the flames, started to curse Crassus and evoke the infernal gods. Judging from the name and the behaviour of this man, we can guess that he was of Etruscan descent! To strengthen his own case, Crassus had enlisted the support of Pompey and Caesar, who saw an opportunity to free themselves of a powerful competitor.

When the Senate granted approval, Crassus assembled metropolitan legions in Rome, marched to Campania and then to Brindisi, where he met with other legions summoned from Calabria. The troops embarked despite of stormy seas – an early indication of his ineptitude. Not all the ships reached the other shore.

Crassus had the blind goddess Fortune on his side during his youth: he emerged unscathed from the civil wars, and though he was implicated in the Catiline conspiracy he suffered no consequences. He also settled the debts of a spendthrift Caesar whilst being tightfisted himself and with his family.

But as he aged he became a sort of blunderer, making numerous and serious mistakes, some of them mentioned by the historians who have written in detail about his last expedition. For instance, in a speech to his soldiers he proclaimed that he would destroy a bridge ‘so that none of you would be able to return’ but when he noticed the expressions of dismay amongst his soldiers, Crassus quickly corrected himself by explaining that he had been referring to the enemy. At one point he ordered the distribution of lentils and salt to the troops, oblivious that this was a meal offered at funerals. And when he dropped on the floor the entrails of a sacrificial animal placed in his hands by a haruspex (a soothsayer) Crassus cried: “Fear not despite my age, the hilt of my sword will not slip from my hand!” On the day of the battle Crassus wore a black tunic, instead of the purple colour de rigour for Roman generals, and even though he quickly returned to his tent to change, he left his officers speechless.

Moreover Crassus refused to listen to his veterans advisors in favour of marching on the coast and avoiding the desert to reach the Parthian capital. Rather, he trusted the Arab, Arimanes, and his 6,000 horsemen, who had secretly sided with the Parthians and abandoned the Romans shortly after engaging in the battle.

Crassus ordered his soldiers to organize themselves in square formations, shielded on all sides without and packed like sardines within. It caged them, and they were slaughtered by the Parthian’s arrows, shot from their reflex bows with recurved edges. These bows doubled the propulsion power, enabling them to shoot at a distance of up to 400 metres. This kind of bow was a Mongol invention further perfected by the Chinese in the seventeenth century, when their arrows became capable of reaching a distance of up to 600 metres.

Seeing the grave danger, Crassus’ son, Publius, attempted a sally with a thousand Gallic cavalrymen, but he and half of them were slain, the remainder taken prisoners. The head of Publius was put on a spear and shown to the Romans and to his father. On this tragic occasion we can see the only glimpse of Roman greatness in Crassus who momentarily ceased to act like an old fool and told to his soldiers to keep up the fight. The death of his son, he said, was his private injury, not theirs.

At nightfall, Crassus agreed to negotiate with the enemy however, it was a trap. He was killed and his head was also cut off. 20,000 Romans died that day 10,000 were taken prisoner, and the remainder managed to escape back to Italy.

This shameful setback was partially redressed by Marcus Antonius a few years later and a diplomatic solution with the Parthians was reached under Augustus in 20 BC with a peace treaty that allowed for the retrieval of lost insignia, including the return of the eagles and the banners of the seven Roman legions. When Augustus sought also the return of prisoners from 53 BC the Parthians maintained that there were none to repatriate. Their practice had always been to shift prisoners caught in the West to Turkmenistan in the East. By so doing they aimed to secure their loyalty against their worst enemies – the Huns – and this is probably what happened to the unfortunate 10,000 legionnaires captured during Crassus’s battle. The Roman historian Plinius also upheld this theory, which stood until 1955, when an American Sinologist, Homer Hasenpflug Dubs, gave a speech during a conference in London, titled, “A Roman City in Ancient China”.

Dubs had found that in the annals of the Han dynasty there is record of the capture of a Hun city by the Chinese army in 36 BC named Zhizhi, now known as Dzhambul, located close to Tashkent, in Uzbekistan. Dubs was deeply impressed by the fact that the Chinese recorded the discovery of palisades of tree trunks, and that the enemy had used a previously unseen battle formation, namely a testudo of selected warriors forming a cover of overlapping shields in front of their bodies in the first row and over the heads in the following rows. [2]

The Roman Testudo

The Chinese were so struck by the military skills of the opposing warriors that they moved them, after enlisting, further East, to a place that by imperial decree was named Li-Jien (which sounds in Chinese as the word “legion” and is the name the Chinese called Rome) in Gansu province. It was uncommon for Chinese to name their cities after barbarian names: the only two other known cases, Kucha and Wen-Siu, occurred where large colonies of foreigners had settled. The legionnaires numbered 145, and formed a garrison protecting the inhabitants of Li-Jien from Tibetan raids.

Dubs claimed to have identified Li-Jien as the place now known as Zhelaizhai, near Lanzhou. Subsequent archaeological expeditions made by Chinese, Australians and Americans appear to support the choice of this Chinese city even though the smoking gun, which may finally solve the mystery, has yet to be found.

During excavations in 1993 fortifications were unearthed, as well as a type of trunk fixed with stakes, possibly dating back to the time of the arrival of the legionnaires. The ‘trunk’ was a kind of hoist used by the Romans to build fortifications but unknown in China. It is now on display in the Lanzhou Museum.

The physical features of those living in Lanzhou, in some cases, also give some credence to Dubs’s theory. A certain Sung Guorong, for instance, stands at the unusual height of 1.82 metres, is blond and with an aquiline nose and big blue eyes, and loudly proclaims that he is Roman, not Chinese. He also claims that there are at least 100 others in the area with similar features.

Certainly among the legionnaires there were some German as well as Gaul auxiliaries. Perhaps one of Mr Song’s ancestors was one of those 500 horsemen captured during Publius Crassus’s tragic sally. Lanzhou University has conducted DNA tests on the population of Zhelaizhai and their findings show that 46 per cent of them have genetic sequences similar to Europeans’.

Future research conducted using the Y chromosome (which is subject to little variation as it is transmitted directly from father to son) will shed more light on this mystery, and will help gather more precise information about European kinship ties.

Apart from this genetic evidence, Roman coins and pottery have also been unearthed in Zhelaizhai, as well as a helmet bearing the engraving in Chinese characters: One of the Prisoners. However, Zhelaizhai is located along the Silk Road, where such discoveries are found frequently. Similar artefacts have been found in distant places such as Vietnam and Korea.

One of Zhelaizhai’s specific characteristics, worth mentioning, is the passion for bulls and bullfighting, which continues to this day, and which is not shared by neighbouring areas. Local authorities, wishing to capitalize on the tourist potential offered by this link, have built a pavilion with Roman marble statues to attract visitors.

The Chinese were aware of the existence of a large Western empire and sent a legation in the year 97 AD, headed by Kan Ying. This legation arrived in Mesopotamia but, prior to continuing on to Rome, were misled by the Parthians into believing the journey would take two years of sailing. The Parthians had no interest in having their two main customers meet, as this would have cut them out of a lucrative trade.[3]

The naïve Kan Yin trusted the Parthians and decided to return to China empty handed.

Marcus Aurelius in 166 AD sent an official delegation of Romans to the Chinese capital of Luoyang and their arrival is recorded in the dynastic annals however, the Chinese did not respond favourably to the Roman overtures, perhaps because of the occurrence in 184 AD of the peasant rebellion known as the Yellow Turbans, which caused a frightful civil war and the fall of the Han dynasty, which had ruled over China for four centuries.

(This article was published in a Hong Kong magazine on February 2003. Since than my story went viral on the web. I was contacted by an historian from Turkey asking if I knew more, because it seems that traditionally it was from Zheilazhai that begun the march West of the Turkish nation, or better say the Ashina clan within the Turkish nation..)

This article was published for the first time in Fabruary 2003.

[1] Carrhae, now known as Harran, is located on Turkey’s oriental border.

[2] These facts are reported in the biography of Chen Tang, one of the victorious Chinese generals, written by the historian Ban Gu (32 – 92).

[3] It is well known that Caesar spent a considerable amount of gold for bespoke-tailored togas made of silk, and that he gave Servilia, his mistress and mother of Brutus, a costly pearl from the South Seas. He was a trendsetter…


Part 1 : A lost Roman legion….in China?

The year was 53 BC, Caesar was enforcing civilisation in Gaul and the politics of empire danced their dangerous dance around the Vestal flame. In the midst of this turbulence, 10,000 ravaged, beaten and humiliated soldiers of a once proud Roman army were marched under the yoke into the mists of time, never to be heard of again……or were they?

Marcus Licinius Crassus, the proclaimed ‘wealthiest man in Rome’, was losing the war of prestige and honour to his fellow triumvirates, and under intense pressure to prove his worth as a leader of men after the disastrous campaign against the slave revolts under Spartacus. He craved the one thing money could not buy, the most prized attribute in the high echelons of Roman society, the ‘dignitas’ gained from total war. He therefore decided he would make his mark in the most spectacular way. He raised himself seven legions of Rome’s finest, an estimated 30,000/35,000 men, 4,000 horse, and about 3500 light infantry.

This Roman military machine, it’s engine emitting the throaty roar of impending conquest and the jewel encrusted prospect of unimaginable riches, invaded the heartlands of it’s mortal nemesis, the Parthian empire. Alas it would prove to be one of the most disastrous campaigns in Roman history, ending in just one significant military engagement. On the banks of a tributary of the Euphrates, a Parthian army of 10,000 blocked the way of the might of Rome it would be recorded through the annals of time as the battle of Carrhae. (Now modern day Harran, Turkey)

The battle was scarcely a battle, with the enemy not presenting themselves for close quarters combat, the Roman legions were completely outmanoeuvred and utterly cut to pieces. Parthian horse archers, who are now, as then, famous for the ‘Parthian shot’, in which an archer could turn in the saddle and loose several more arrows as they rode away. This was devastating for the Roman ethos of war, which principally consisted of a stand and be destroyed way of fighting, the army was designed for close quarter action. In almost a forerunner to the last days of the Empire centuries later, the Parthian archers blitzed the Roman position for a full day, and with the final blow of the death on legs that were the cataphracts, the fat lady had definitely sung for the legions, reducing 30,000 of Romulus’s wolves draped in iron into a blood soaked wall of flesh and forgotten courage, turning the sun scorched desert into deaths playground. The air was full of the iron tinge of spent blood, and the carrions were to feast for weeks to come.

Crassus and the surviving legates of the army, knowing the day was well and truly lost, and with the tattered and exhausted remnants of the army near mutinous, agreed to a meeting of parley offered by the Parthian commander, a General Surena. However a scuffle ensued and Crassus was executed.

Next according to Plutarch:

‘Thereupon some of them went down and delivered themselves up, but the rest scattered during the night, and of these a very few made their escape the rest of them were hunted down by the Arabs, captured, and cut to pieces. In the whole campaign, twenty thousand are said to have been killed, and ten thousand to have been taken alive.’- Plutarch, Lives

Thus our story begins.

It all started in 1957 when a well respected yet gloriously eccentric Sinologist by the name of Homer H Dubs published a paper entitled: ‘A Roman City in Ancient China’. A subject he had been researching for 10 years. In the paper he stated that captured soldiers from the battle of Carrhae had been settled and used as mercenaries (and even formed a town!) in North Western China, in what is now the Gansu province. It is of little surprise that mystery lovers and some scholars have pounced on this extraordinary claim. Considering that Chinas first accepted direct contact in literary sources with the Roman Empire itself was an emissary during the Principate, under Marcus Aurelieus in 166 AD. It is very tantalising to think of the delicious notion of earlier and spectacular integration of westerners in China. I do have to admit also, that the circumstantial evidence is definitely compelling.

Let us explore the evidence….

Now, the Parthians’ usual practice for captured enemy soldiers was to indeed utilise them, to strip them of all their own military equipment and re-supply with indigenous weapons. The ancient sources such as Pliny seem to support this also, it is worth mentioning the Roman historian Horace claimed that the survivors were integrated in to the main Parthian army and married to women of the indigenous population. If we are to take this as evidence for our current subject, these soldiers most likely fate was to be moved to the far eastern fringes of the Parthian empire in Turkmenistan to be used as border guards against the Huns. It indeed makes sense that these soldiers be moved as far from their own borders as possible the Romans themselves did this with the auxiliaries they recruited.

In 20 BC during negotiations for the recovery of the standards lost at Carrhae between Augustus and the Parthians, it was stated that there were no prisoners to be given back as reparations also. This is the basis many theorists use to substantiate the idea of the Romans in China the Parthians no longer had the prisoners, it obviously backs up the theory to some extent of the Romans in China…..surely?

Not quite, let us pick apart this foundation idea. Firstly it is 20 BC, that is 33 years after Carrhae, and the average life expectancy of a male of the soldier class in the late republic was 45/50 (and that’s being optimistic even without battle exposure and other hazards of this type). So even if we assume the majority of soldiers was aged 17/30 at the time of the battle, that would place them in the age bracket of between 42 and 60 years old. Even taking into consideration that it is possible that some would live longer than others, the idea that it could be used to substantiate the theory just doesn’t stack up to real scrutiny. However, on the flip side of this there is indeed a chance of some of these men still being alive at the time of the diplomatic exchange.

Let us move on, there is a Chinese record, called ‘History of the former Han Dynasty’. In the first scene they tell the story of a territorial battle between the Huns and the Chinese in a place called ZhiZhi, identified today as Zhambal, Uzbekistan, in the year 36 BC (notice again the date). A general in command of the Chinese was a man named Chen Tang, and his account of the battle is where it all starts for Dubs and the very foundation of the whole theory. He stated that his warriors faced off against a unit of soldiers which numbered more than a hundred using a very strange formation, he described it as a ‘fish scale formation’ (You can see where this is going right. ) that he had never been witness to before. Now this is all he says about this formation, but it does strike an alarming similarity to the ‘testudo’ (Latin for tortoise), the famous formation used by the Romans throughout their military conquests until at the very least the 4 th Century AD.

He does make note of another feature of the Roman military too, a wooden palisade being placed outside the walls this according to Dubs was almost exclusively a Roman practice at this time. Dubs himself, when presented with the possibility that they could be Hunnish warriors completely dismisses this on the grounds that like all nomad and barbarian armies of this period were just that, barbarian. He maintained that cohesive and complicated battle manoeuvres and building works could only be obtained by constant drill and training, and the double palisade was most characteristically a standard Roman practice. A thing to note also is that the Huns, who in tactics and troop utilisation were very similar to the Parthians. Were composed largely of mounted archers and heavy shock cavalry, the heavy infantry units used usually composed largely of mercenaries or low born levies.

In Chen Tang’s official report to the emperor he states that approximately 1,518 men were killed, had taken alive 145 men and 1000 men surrendered. Could those 145 men be the Roman mercenaries?

It is a very strange fact that the 145 were considered separate from the 1000 who surrendered. Maybe because the 145 just changed paymaster? It does make sense that this is how mercenaries would act in this situation, a transition from one employer to the next, who cares where the money is coming from? Dubs certainly sees it that way he defines the 145 men as the ‘just over a hundred men’ that were using the ‘fish scale’ formation. I am inclined to admit also that this evidence can easily be linked with each other and it does make perfect sense that the Chinese victors would be happy to acquire these men, due to their formidable tactics they used. According to Dubbs, these soldiers were then moved to a frontier town, the name of this town was Li-Jien.

In the next installment we will attempt to shed some light on the secrets of that little town in China…..


Has A Lost Roman Legion Been Found In China?

Lost Roman legions are all the rage at the movies lately. Neil Marshall was first out the gate with Sajandik this year, a really fun and bloody adventure tale about what happened to the fabled Ninth Legion, who disappeared in the wilds of Britain. Kevin MacDonald has a movie about that same legion coming out next year generically called Kotkas (it was originally titled The Eagle of the Ninth, which is much better), the film is set a generation later as a son of a Ninth Legion soldier searches for that group’s missing Eagle emblem.

But the Ninth Legion wasn’t the only lost legion out there. And now DNA tests may have found one of the most legendarily lost groups of Roman soldiers - in China.

You might know Marcus Crassus from Spartacus, but he wasn’t just Kirk Douglas’ enemy. He also was in command of one of ancient Rome’s most devastating defeats - the Battle of Carrhae. Crassus’ Roman forces got royally fucked up by the Parthians they were trying to conquer (Parthia was located in what is now northeastern Iran). It seems the Parthian archers were all that and a bag of chips, and they would ride up on the Romans, raining arrows of death, and then ride away still raining arrows of death. They could shoot equally well forwards or backwards.

40,000 Romans got killed in that battle, and Crassus, pressured into a parley with the Parthians by his mutinous troops, got betrayed and was beheaded. 10,000 Romans were captured and from that day forward disappeared from the official history books.

But there have been stories and legends about them. The accepted wisdom at the time was that the Parthians took the prisoners and moved them to their eastern front, where they were put into battle against the Huns. That was certainly the thesis extended by Roman historian Plinius.

And here’s where it gets interesting. Rumors have it that some of those Romans became mercenaries, fighting for the highest bidder. The Chinese took a Hun city almost 20 years later, and were very impressed with some warriors they saw in action there. Chinese histories tell of warriors who used a ‘fish scale formation,’ which sounds like it could very well be the overlapping shield testudo formation that the Romans perfected and that made them such a fierce fighting force.

The Chinese took these warriors and moved them even farther east, settling them in a town that was named Li-Jien (which sounds, in Chinese, like the word legion), where they repulsed Tibetan attacks. Recent excavations in an area near where archeologists think Li-Jien was (it’s now lost) unearthed a kind of hoist that Romans used in building fortifications which was unknown to the Chinese. That trunk is now on display at the Lanzhou museum.

Which brings us to the modern day. The archeologists who found that artifact were surprised by the looks of the locals. According to China Daily:

DNA testing has shown that some villagers have as much as 56% Caucasian ancestry.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s keep in mind that this village is along the famed Silk Road, the center of trade traffic between East and West in ancient times. There are a lot of ways that the people of Liqian, on the edge of the Gobi Desert, could have gotten some white in their veins. And the make-up of a Roman legion - it could have contained people from all over the vast Empire, including Germans (whom the locals, with their light hair and eyes, seem to resemble the most) - makes it tough to be sure that the Caucasian DNA came from the legion or from a traveling trader.

That said, it’s unlikely that Romans ever officially got anywhere near the Gobi Desert. The Han Empire was aware of the Romans, and there was some minor contact but it was all done through third party intermediaries (the Parthians, in fact!). No official Roman boot trod that far into Chinese territory.

But maybe! It’s kind of cool to think of the slow seepage of ancient empires into one another. And the idea of a hardy band of Roman legionnaires - the stories have their final number as less than 200 - fighting in strange and exotic lands and finding themselves settling down there - makes for an excellent and thrilling story. Now that’s a lost legion film I’d like to see. I could finally get a film where a guy in a Roman helmet fights a kung fu master.



Kommentaarid:

  1. Duqaq

    If you don't like it, don't read it!

  2. Jakome

    Ja nagu sellest aru saada

  3. Morell

    Vabandan sekkumise pärast ... Mul on sarnane olukord. Valmis aitama.

  4. Didal

    Moskva ei ehitatud päevas.

  5. Atif

    Ma ei saa meenutada, kus ma selle kohta lugesin.

  6. Novak

    I apologize, but I think you are wrong. I offer to discuss it. Kirjutage mulle PM -is.



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