Σάββατο, 31 Οκτωβρίου 2015

The European(Greek) introduction of culture and civilisation in prehistoric China

Ox carts, proto-chariots, were built by the Proto-Indo-Europeans and in Mesopotamia as early as 3000 BC. The original horse chariot was a fast, light, open, two-wheeled conveyance drawn by two or more horses that were hitched side by side, and was little more than a floor with a waist-high guard at the front and sides. It was initially used for ancient warfare during the Bronze and Iron Ages, but after its military capabilities had been superseded by cavalry the chariot was used for travel, in processions, for games, and in races. The critical invention that allowed the construction of light, horse-drawn chariots was the spoked wheel. The earliest spoke-wheeled chariots date to ca. 2000 BC. The use of chariots peaked around 1300 BC (see Battle of Kadesh). Chariots had lost their military importance by the 1st century AD, but chariot races continued to be popular in Constantinople until the 6th century. The earliest fully developed true chariots known are from the chariot burials of the Andronovo (Timber-Grave) sites of the Sintashta-Petrovka Proto-Indo-Iranian culture in modern Russia and Kazakhstanfrom around 2000 BC. This culture is at least partially derived from the earlier Yamna culture. It built heavily fortified settlements, engaged inbronze metallurgy on an industrial scale and practiced complex burial rituals reminiscent of Hindu rituals known from the Rigveda and the Avesta. The Sintashta-Petrovka burials yielded the world's oldest spoke-wheeled true chariots. The Andronovo culture over the next few centuries spread across the steppes from the Urals to the Tien Shan, likely corresponding to the time of early Indo-Iranian cultures. Chariots figure prominently in Indo-Iranian mythology. Chariots are also an important part of both Hindu and Persian mythology, with most of the gods in their pantheon portrayed as riding them. The Sanskrit word for a chariot is rátha- (m.), which is cognate with Avestan raθa- (also m.), and in origin a substantiation of the adjective Proto-Indo-European *rot-h₂-ó- meaning "having wheels", with the characteristic accent shift found in Indo-Iranian substantivisations. This adjective is in turn derived from the collective noun *rot-eh₂- "wheels", continued in Latinrota, which belongs to the noun *rót-o- for "wheel" (from *ret- "to run") that is also found in Germanic, Celtic and Baltic (Old High German rad n., Old Irish roth m., Lithuanian rãtas m.). The Tocharians, or "Tokharians"  were inhabitants of medieval oasis city-states on the northern edge of the Tarim Basin (modern Xinjiang, China). Their Tocharian languages (a branch of the Indo-European family) are known from manuscripts from the 6th to 8th centuries AD, after which they were supplanted by the Turkic languages of the Uyghur tribes. These people were called "Tocharian" by late 19th-century scholars who identified them with the Tókharoi described by ancient Greek sources as inhabiting Bactria. Although this identification is now generally considered mistaken, the name has become customary. The Tocharians are thought to have developed from the Afanasevo culture of eastern Siberia (c. 3500 – 2500 BC). It is believed that the Tarim mummies, discovered from 1800 BC, represent an migration of Tocharian speakers from the Afanasevo culture in the Tarim Basin in the early 2nd millennium BC. By the end of the 2nd millennium BC, the dominant people as far east as the Altai Mountains southward to the northern outlets of the Tibetan Plateau were Europoid, with the northern part speaking Iranian Scythian languages and the southern parts Tocharian languages, having Mongoloid populations as their northeastern neighbors. These two groups were in competition with each other until the latter overcame the former. The turning point occurred around the 5th to 4th centuries BC with a gradual Mongolization of Siberia, w hile Central Asia remained Europoid and Indo-European-speaking until well into the 1st millennium AD. The Indo-European eastward expansion in the 2nd millennium BC had a significant influence on Chinese culture. It is little doubt that the chariot entered China through the Central Asia and the Northern Steppe, possibly indicating some form of contact with the Indo-Europeans.Recent archaeological finds have shown that the late Shang Dynasty used horses, chariots, bowsand practiced horse burials very similar to the steppe peoples to the west. Indo-European technological influence on Chinese culture at the time include the introduction of the domesticated horse, iron technology. and wheeled vehiclesOther cultural influences resulting from Indo-European influence include fighting styles, head-and-hoof rituals, art motifs and myths. These significant Indo-European influences on China at the time have led the Sinologist Christopher I. Beckwith to propose that the "idea of writing" in Shang China might have been a result of Indo-European influence, that Indo-Europeans "may even have been responsible for the foundation of the Shang Dynasty," and that Old Chinese of the Oracle bone script contained influences from Indo-European languages. While the Old Chinese word for honey is generally accepted as a loanword from Tocharian, Beckwith suggests that many more Old Chinese words are of Tocharian origin, claiming a similar Indo-European influence on Tibeto-Burman. Christopher I. Beckwith proposes that the name of the Qiang, the main foreign enemies of the Shang Dynasty, has an Indo-European etymology. From the modern Chinese Qiang, Sinologist Edwin G. Pulleyblank reconstructs the Old Chinese *klaŋ, which Beckwith compares to the Tocharian word klānk, meaning "to ride, go by wagon", as in "to ride off to hunt from a chariot", so that Qiang could actually mean "charioteer". The Oracle Bones note that the Qiang were skilled charioteers and makers of Oracle Bones. According to Beckwith, it is possible that the clan (Jiang) of Jiang Yuan, mother of Houji, founder of the Zhou dynasty, which succeeded the Shang, was related or identical to the Qiang. The Sinologist Edwin G. Pulleyblank has suggested that the Yuezhi, the Wusun the Dayuan, the Kangju and the people of Yanqi, could have been Tocharian-speaking. Of these the Yuezhi are generally held to have been Tocharians. The Yuezhi were originally settled in the arid grasslands of the eastern Tarim Basin area, in what is today Xinjiang and western Gansu, in China. After the Yuezhi were defeated by the Xiongnu, in the 2nd century BC, a small group, known as the Little Yuezhi, fled to the south, later spawning the Jie people who dominated theLater Zhao until their complete extermination by Ran Min in the Wei–Jie war. The majority of the Yuezhi however migrated west to the Ili Valley, where they displaced the Sakas (Scythians). Driven from the Ili Valley shortly afterwards by the Wusun, the Yuezhi migrated to Sogdia and then Bactria, where they are often identified with the Tókharoi (Τοχάριοι) and Asioi of Classical sources. They then expanded into northern South Asia, where one branch of the Yuezhi founded the Kushan Empire. The Kushan empire stretched from Turfan in the Tarim Basin to Pataliputra on the Gangetic plain at its greatest extent, and played an important role in the development of the Silk Road and the transmission of Buddhism to China. Tocharian languages continued to be spoken in the city-states of the Tarim Basin, only becoming extinct in the Middle Ages. The earliest archaeological evidence of chariots in China, a chariot burial site discovered in 1933 at Hougang, Anyang in Henan province, dates to the rule of King Wu Ding of the late Shang Dynasty (c. 1200 BC). Oracle bone inscriptions suggest that the western enemies of the Shang used limited numbers of chariots in battle, but the Shang themselves used them only as mobile command-vehicles and in royal hunts. During the Shang Dynasty, members of the royal family were buried with a complete household and servants, including a chariot, horses, and a charioteer. A Shang chariot was often drawn by two horses, but four-horse variants are occasionally found in burials. Jacques Gernet claims that the Zhou dynasty, which conquered the Shang ca. 1046 BC, made more use of the chariot than did the Shang and "invented a new kind of harness with four horses abreast". The crew consisted of an archer, a driver, and sometimes a third warrior who was armed with a spear or dagger-axe. From the 8th to 5th centuries BC the Chinese use of chariots reached its peak. Although chariots appeared in greater numbers, infantry often defeated charioteers in battle. Massed-chariot warfare became all but obsolete after the Warring-States Period (476–221 BC). The main reasons were increased use of the crossbow, the adoption of standard cavalry units, and the adaptation of mounted archery from nomadic cavalry, which were more effective. Chariots would continue to serve as command posts for officers during the Qin dynasty (221-206 BC) and the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), while armored chariots were also used during the Han Dynasty against the Xiongnu Confederation in the Han–Xiongnu War (133 BC to 89 AD), specifically at the Battle of Mobei (119 BC). Before the Han Dynasty, the power of Chinese states and dynasties was often measured by the number of chariots they were known to have. A country of a thousand chariots ranked as a medium country, and a country of ten thousand chariots ranked as a huge and powerful country. hen we think of war chariots we tend to think of ancient kingdoms, such as the Sumerians, Hittites and particularly the Egyptians. After all, the most famous chariot battle, that of Kadesh, was fought between Egyptians and Hittites around 1300 BC. But chariots were also used as far east as ancient China. They were regarded as a symbol of status due to the cost of procuring and maintaining them. These ancient war chariots are sometimes considered the “tank” of the day, despite its relative frailty. The ancient Chinese war chariot was used for attack and pursuit, plus mobile command from about 1200 BC (the Shang Dynasty). Chariots could be a potent weapon on the wide-open spaces – the plains and fields – of ancient China. They also afforded greater mobility to foot soldiers armed with daggers and axes (an early form of armoured personnel carrier). The use of chariots is believed to explain Chinese success in battle. Ancient Chinese wars were chiefly wars of unification, expansion and defence between warring dynasties. Chinese sources date the introduction of the war chariot to the Xia Dynasty and its minister Xi Zhong, with references to the Battle of Gan in the 21st Century BC. Little is known about this period. The earliest known archaeological evidence is a chariot burial unearthed in the 1930s and dated to the twelfth century BC (the later Shang Dynasty). There are also contemporary inscriptions from the same period, which show chariot-like two-wheeled vehicles, with a single pole for horses to be attached. Chariots reigned supreme until the end of the Zhou Dynasty, the so-called “Warring States Period”, around the fourth century BC, when they began to be superseded by other methods of warfare, notably cavalry and massed ranks of infantry. Chariots continued to be used, however, as mobile command posts, right up to the Han Dynasty, which extended their use to around AD 220. Armoured chariots were still used on occasions much later than the fourth century BC, particularly by the Han, when circumstances were favourable. Chariots were not just used for the act of war, but could also be used to move supplies, although their light construction would have been a severe impediment on bulk. Like their counterparts from the ancient Mediterranean and Near East, they were also used prominently in victory parades and in royal hunts.
Πηγή: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chariot#China

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