The Xiongnu (Chinese: 匈奴; pinyin: Xiōngnú, [ɕjʊ́ŋ.nǔ]) were a tribal confederation of nomadic peoples who, according to ancient Chinese sources, inhabited the eastern Eurasian Steppe from the 3rd century BC to the late 1st century AD. Modu Chanyu, the supreme leader after 209 BC, founded the Xiongnu Empire.
|3rd century BC–1st century AD|
|3rd century BC|
|1st century AD|
After overthrowing their previous overlords, the Yuezhi, the Xiongnu became the dominant power on the steppes of East Asia, centred on the Mongolian Plateau. The Xiongnu were also active in areas now part of Siberia, Inner Mongolia, Gansu and Xinjiang. Their relations with adjacent Chinese dynasties to the south-east were complex—alternating between various periods of peace, war, and subjugation. Ultimately, the Xiongnu were defeated by the Han dynasty in a centuries-long conflict, which led to the confederation splitting in two, and forcible resettlement of large numbers of Xiongnu within Han borders. During the Sixteen Kingdoms era, as one of the "Five Barbarians", they founded several dynastic states in northern China, such as the Former Zhao and Hu Xia.
Attempts to identify the Xiongnu with later groups of the western Eurasian Steppe were controversial for a period of time, as Scythians and Sarmatians were concurrently to the west, archaeogenetics confirmed that interaction and connection with the Huns. The identity of the ethnic core of Xiongnu has been a subject of varied hypotheses, because only a few words, mainly titles and personal names, were preserved in the Chinese sources. The name Xiongnu may be cognate with that of the Huns and/or the Huna, although this is disputed. Other linguistic links—all of them also controversial—proposed by scholars include Iranian, Mongolic, Turkic, Uralic, Yeniseian, or multi-ethnic.
The Chinese name for the Xiongnu was a pejorative term in itself, as the characters (匈奴) have the meaning of "fierce slave". The pronunciation of 匈奴 as Xiōngnú [ɕjʊ́ŋnǔ] is the modern Mandarin Chinese pronunciation, from the Mandarin dialect spoken now in Beijing, which came into existence less than 1000 years ago. The Old Chinese pronunciation has been reconstructed as *xiuoŋ-na or *qhoŋna. Sinologist Axel Schuessler (2014) reconstructs the pronunciations of 匈奴 as *hoŋ-nâ in Late Old Chinese (c. 318 BCE) and as *hɨoŋ-nɑ in Eastern Han Chinese; citing other Chinese transcriptions wherein the velar nasal medial -ŋ-, after a short vowel, seemingly played the role of a general nasal - sometimes equivalent to n & m -, Schuessler proposes that 匈奴 Xiongnu < *hɨoŋ-nɑ < *hoŋ-nâ might be a Chinese rendition, Han or even pre-Han, of foreign *Hŏna or *Hŭna, which Schuessler compares to Huns and Sanskrit Hūṇā. However, the same medial -ŋ- prompts Christopher P. Atwood (2015) to reconstruct *Xoŋai, which he derives from the Ongi River (Mongolian: Онги гол) in Mongolia and suggests that it was originally a dynastic name rather than an ethnic name.
The territories associated with the Xiongnu in central/east Mongolia were previously inhabited by the Slab Grave Culture, which persisted until the 3rd century BC. Genetic research indicates that the Slab Grave people were the primary ancestors of the Xiongnu, and that the Xiongnu formed through substantial and complex admixture with West Eurasians.
To the west, the Pazyryk culture (6th-3rd century BC) immediately preceded the formation of the Xiongnus. A Scythian culture, it was identified by excavated artifacts and mummified humans, such as the Siberian Ice Princess, found in the Siberian permafrost, in the Altay Mountains, Kazakhstan and nearby Mongolia. To the south, the Ordos culture had developed in the Ordos Loop (modern Inner Mongolia, China) during the Bronze and early Iron Age from the 6th to 2nd centuries BC, and is of unknown ethno-linguistic origin, and is thought to represent the easternmost extension of Indo-European-speakers. The Yuezhi were displaced by the Xiongnu expansion in the 2nd century BC, and had to migrate to Central and Southern Asia.
Western Han historian Sima Qian composed an early yet detailed exposition on the Xiongnu in one liezhuan (arrayed account) of his Records of the Grand Historian (c. 100 BC), wherein the Xiongnu were alleged to be descendants of a certain Chunwei, who in turn descended from the "lineage of Lord Xia", a.k.a. Yu the Great. Even so, Sima Qian also drew a distinct line between the settled Huaxia people (Han) to the pastoral nomads (Xiongnu), characterizing them as two polar groups in the sense of a civilization versus an uncivilized society: the Hua–Yi distinction. Sima Qian also mentioned Xiongnu's early appearance north of Wild Goose Gate and Dai commanderies before 265 BCE, just before the Zhao-Xiongnu War; however, sinologist Edwin Pulleyblank (1994) contends that pre-241-BCE references to the Xiongnu are anachronistic substitutions for the Hu people instead. Sometimes the Xiongnu were distinguished from other nomadic peoples; namely, the Hu people; yet on other occasions, Chinese sources often just classified the Xiongnu as a Hu people, which was a blanket term for nomadic people. Even Sima Qian is inconsistent in his Historical Records: occasionally, he considered the Donghu to be the Hu proper, yet elsewhere he considered Xiongnu to be also Hu.
Ancient China often came in contact with the Xianyun and the Xirong nomadic peoples. In later Chinese historiography, some groups of these peoples were believed to be the possible progenitors of the Xiongnu people. These nomadic people often had repeated military confrontations with the Shang and especially the Zhou, who often conquered and enslaved the nomads in an expansion drift. During the Warring States period, the armies from the Qin, Zhao and Yan states were encroaching and conquering various nomadic territories that were inhabited by the Xiongnu and other Hu peoples. The Zhao–Xiongnu War is a notable example of these campaigns.
Pulleyblank argued that the Xiongnu were part of a Xirong group called Yiqu, who had lived in Shaanbei and had been influenced by China for centuries, before they were driven out by the Qin dynasty. Qin's campaign against the Xiongnu expanded Qin's territory at the expense of the Xiongnu. After the unification of Qin dynasty, Xiongnu was a threat to the northern board of Qin. They were likely to attack the Qin dynasty when they suffered natural disasters.
The first known Xiongnu leader was Touman, who reigned between 220-209 BC. In 215 BC, Chinese Emperor Qin Shi Huang sent General Meng Tian on a military campaign against the Xiongnu. Meng Tian defeated the Xiongnu and expelled them from the Ordos loop, forcing Touman and the Xiongnu to flee north into the Mongolian Plateau. In 210 BC, Meng Tian died, and in 209 BC, Touman's son Modu became the Xiongnu Chanyu.
In order to protect the Xiongnu from the threat of the Qin dynasty, Modu Chanyu united the Xiongnu into a powerful confederation. This transformed the Xiongnu into a more formidable polity, able to form larger armies and exercise improved strategic coordination. Two years later, in 207 BC, the Qin dynasty fell, and after a period of internal conflict, it was replaced by the Western Han dynasty in 202 BC. This period of Chinese instability was a time of prosperity for the Xiongnu, who adopted many Han agriculture techniques such as slaves for heavy labor and lived in Han-style homes.
After forging internal unity, Modu Chanyu expanded the Xiongnu empire in all directions. To the north he conquered a number of nomadic peoples, including the Dingling of southern Siberia. He crushed the power of the Donghu people of eastern Mongolia and Manchuria as well as the Yuezhi in the Hexi Corridor of Gansu, where his son, Jizhu, made a skull cup out of the Yuezhi king. Modu also retook the original homeland of Xiongnu on the Yellow River, which had previously been taken by the Qin general Meng Tian. Under Modu's leadership, the Xiongnu became so strong that they began to threaten the Han dynasty.
In 200 BC, Modu besieged the Chinese Han Dynasty emperor Gaozu (Gao-Di) with his 320,000-strong army at Peteng Fortress in Baideng (present-day Datong, Shanxi) almost causing Emperor Gaozu, the first Han emperor, to lose his throne in 200 BC. Gaozu (Gao-Di) after agreed to all Modu's terms, such as ceding the northern provinces to the Xiongnu and paying annual taxes, he was allowed to leave the siege. Although Gaozu was able to return to his capital Chang'an (present-day Xi'an), Modu occasionally threatened the Han's northern frontier and finally in 198 BC, a peace treaty was finally settled.
By the time of Modu's death in 174 BC, the Xiongnu were recognized as the most prominent of the nomads bordering the Chinese Han empire According to the Book of Han, later quoted in Duan Chengshi's ninth-century Miscellaneous Morsels from Youyang:
Also, according to the Han shu, Wang Wu (王烏) and others were sent as envoys to pay a visit to the Xiongnu. According to the customs of the Xiongnu, if the Han envoys did not remove their tallies of authority, and if they did not allow their faces to be tattooed, they could not gain entrance into the yurts. Wang Wu and his company removed their tallies, submitted to tattoo, and thus gained entry. The Shanyu looked upon them very highly.
The ruler of the Xiongnu was called the Chanyu. Under him were the Tuqi Kings. The Tuqi King of the Left was normally the heir presumptive. Next lower in the hierarchy came more officials in pairs of left and right: the guli, the army commanders, the great governors, the danghu and the gudu. Beneath them came the commanders of detachments of one thousand, of one hundred, and of ten men. This nation of nomads, a people on the march, was organized like an army.
After Modu, later leaders formed a dualistic system of political organisation with the left and right branches of the Xiongnu divided on a regional basis. The chanyu or shanyu, a ruler equivalent to the Emperor of China, exercised direct authority over the central territory. Longcheng (龍城) became the annual meeting place and served as the Xiongnu capital. The ruins of Longcheng were found south of Ulziit District, Arkhangai Province in 2017.
North of Shanxi with the Tuqi King of the Left was holding the area north of Beijing and the Tuqi King of the Right was holding the Ordos Loop area as far as Gansu. When the Xiongnu had been driven north, to today's Mongolia.
Marriage diplomacy with Han China
In the winter of 200 BC, following a Xiongnu siege of Taiyuan, Emperor Gaozu of Han personally led a military campaign against Modu Chanyu. At the Battle of Baideng, he was ambushed, reputedly by Xiongnu cavalry. The emperor was cut off from supplies and reinforcements for seven days, only narrowly escaping capture.
The Han dynasty sent random unrelated commoner women falsely labeled as "princesses" and members of the Han imperial family multiple times when they were practicing Heqin marriage alliances with the Xiongnu in order to avoid sending the emperor's daughters. The Han sent these "princesses" to marry Xiongnu leaders in their efforts to stop the border raids. Along with arranged marriages, the Han sent gifts to bribe the Xiongnu to stop attacking. After the defeat at Pingcheng in 200 BC, the Han emperor abandoned a military solution to the Xiongnu threat. Instead, in 198 BC , the courtier Liu Jing was dispatched for negotiations. The peace settlement eventually reached between the parties included a Han princess given in marriage to the chanyu (called heqin) (Chinese: 和親; lit. 'harmonious kinship'); periodic gifts to the Xiongnu of silk, distilled beverages and rice; equal status between the states; and a boundary wall as mutual border.
This first treaty set the pattern for relations between the Han and the Xiongnu for sixty years. Up to 135 BC, the treaty was renewed nine times, each time with an increase in the "gifts" to the Xiongnu Empire. In 192 BC, Modun even asked for the hand of Emperor Gaozu of Han widow Empress Lü Zhi. His son and successor, the energetic Jiyu, known as the Laoshang Chanyu, continued his father's expansionist policies. Laoshang succeeded in negotiating with Emperor Wen terms for the maintenance of a large scale government sponsored market system.
While the Xiongnu benefited handsomely, from the Chinese perspective marriage treaties were costly, very humiliating and ineffective. Laoshang Chanyu showed that he did not take the peace treaty seriously. On one occasion his scouts penetrated to a point near Chang'an. In 166 BC he personally led 140,000 cavalry to invade Anding, reaching as far as the imperial retreat at Yong. In 158 BC, his successor sent 30,000 cavalry to attack Shangdang and another 30,000 to Yunzhong.
The Xiongnu also practiced marriage alliances with Han dynasty officers and officials who defected to their side by marrying off sisters and daughters of the Chanyu (the Xiongnu ruler) to Han Chinese who joined the Xiongnu and Xiongnu in Han service. The daughter of the Laoshang Chanyu (and older sister of Junchen Chanyu and Yizhixie Chanyu) was married to the Xiongnu General Zhao Xin, the Marquis of Xi who was serving the Han dynasty. The daughter of Qiedihou Chanyu was married to the Han Chinese General Li Ling after he surrendered and defected. Another Han Chinese General who defected to the Xiongnu was Li Guangli, general in the War of the Heavenly Horses, who also married a daughter of the Hulugu Chanyu. The Han Chinese diplomat Su Wu married a Xiongnu woman given by Li Ling when he was arrested and taken captive. Han Chinese explorer Zhang Qian married a Xiongnu woman and had a child with her when he was taken captive by the Xiongnu.
When the Eastern Jin dynasty ended, the Xianbei Northern Wei received the Han Chinese Jin prince Sima Chuzhi 司馬楚之 as a refugee. A Northern Wei Xianbei Princess married Sima Chuzhi, giving birth to Sima Jinlong 司馬金龍. Northern Liang Xiongnu King Juqu Mujian's daughter married Sima Jinlong.
The Yenisei Kyrgyz khagans of the Yenisei Kyrgyz Khaganate claimed descent from the Chinese general Li Ling, grandson of the famous Han dynasty general Li Guang. Li Ling was captured by the Xiongnu and defected in the first century BCE. And since the Tang royal Li family also claimed descent from Li Guang, the Kirghiz Khagan was therefore recognized as a member of the Tang Imperial family. This relationship soothed the relationship when Kyrgyz khagan Are (阿熱) invaded Uyghur Khaganate and put Qasar Qaghan to the sword. The news brought to Chang'an by Kyrgyz ambassador Zhuwu Hesu (註吾合素).
The Han dynasty made preparations for war when the Han Emperor Wu dispatched the Han Chinese explorer Zhang Qian to explore the mysterious kingdoms to the west and to form an alliance with the Yuezhi people in order to combat the Xiongnu. During this time Zhang married a Xiongnu wife, who bore him a son, and gained the trust of the Xiongnu leader. While Zhang Qian did not succeed in this mission, his reports of the west provided even greater incentive to counter the Xiongnu hold on westward routes out of the Han Empire, and the Han prepared to mount a large scale attack using the Northern Silk Road to move men and material.
While the Han dynasty was making preparations for a military confrontation since the reign of Emperor Wen, the break did not come until 133 BC, following an abortive trap to ambush the chanyu at Mayi. By that point the empire was consolidated politically, militarily and economically, and was led by an adventurous pro-war faction at court. In that year, Emperor Wu reversed the decision he had made the year before to renew the peace treaty.
Full-scale war broke out in autumn 129 BC, when 40,000 Han cavalry made a surprise attack on the Xiongnu at the border markets. In 127 BC, the Han general Wei Qing retook the Ordos. In 121 BC, the Xiongnu suffered another setback when Huo Qubing led a force of light cavalry westward out of Longxi and within six days fought his way through five Xiongnu kingdoms. The Xiongnu Hunye king was forced to surrender with 40,000 men. In 119 BC both Huo and Wei, each leading 50,000 cavalrymen and 100,000 footsoldiers (in order to keep up with the mobility of the Xiongnu, many of the non-cavalry Han soldiers were mobile infantrymen who traveled on horseback but fought on foot), and advancing along different routes, forced the chanyu and his Xiongnu court to flee north of the Gobi Desert. Major logistical difficulties limited the duration and long-term continuation of these campaigns. According to the analysis of Yan You (嚴尤), the difficulties were twofold. Firstly there was the problem of supplying food across long distances. Secondly, the weather in the northern Xiongnu lands was difficult for Han soldiers, who could never carry enough fuel.[a] According to official reports, the Xiongnu lost 80,000 to 90,000 men, and out of the 140,000 horses the Han forces had brought into the desert, fewer than 30,000 returned to the Han Empire.
In 104 and 102 BC, the Han fought and won the War of the Heavenly Horses against the Kingdom of Dayuan. As a result, the Han gained many Ferghana horses which further aided them in their battle against the Xiongnu. As a result of these battles, the Han Empire controlled the strategic region from the Ordos and Gansu corridor to Lop Nor. They succeeded in separating the Xiongnu from the Qiang peoples to the south, and also gained direct access to the Western Regions. Because of strong Han control over the Xiongnu, the Xiongnu became unstable and were no longer a threat to the Han Empire.
Ban Chao, Protector General (都護; Duhu) of the Han dynasty, embarked with an army of 70,000 soldiers in a campaign against the Xiongnu remnants who were harassing the trade route now known as the Silk Road. His successful military campaign saw the subjugation of one Xiongnu tribe after another. Ban Chao also sent an envoy named Gan Ying to Daqin (Rome). Ban Chao was created the Marquess of Dingyuan (定遠侯, i.e., "the Marquess who stabilized faraway places") for his services to the Han Empire and returned to the capital Luoyang at the age of 70 years and died there in the year 102. Following his death, the power of the Xiongnu in the Western Regions increased again, and the emperors of subsequent dynasties did not reach as far west until the Tang dynasty.
Xiongnu Civil War (60–53 BC)
When a Chanyu died, power could pass to his younger brother if his son was not of age. This system, which can be compared to Gaelic tanistry, normally kept an adult male on the throne, but could cause trouble in later generations when there were several lineages that might claim the throne. When the 12th Chanyu died in 60 BC, power was taken by Woyanqudi, a grandson of the 12th Chanyu's cousin. Being something of a usurper, he tried to put his own men in power, which only increased the number of his enemies. The 12th Chanyu's son fled east and, in 58 BC, revolted. Few would support Woyanqudi and he was driven to suicide, leaving the rebel son, Huhanye, as the 14th Chanyu. The Woyanqudi faction then set up his brother, Tuqi, as Chanyu (58 BC). In 57 BC three more men declared themselves Chanyu. Two dropped their claims in favor of the third who was defeated by Tuqi in that year and surrendered to Huhanye the following year. In 56 BC Tuqi was defeated by Huhanye and committed suicide, but two more claimants appeared: Runzhen and Huhanye's elder brother Zhizhi Chanyu. Runzhen was killed by Zhizhi in 54 BC, leaving only Zhizhi and Huhanye. Zhizhi grew in power, and, in 53 BC, Huhanye moved south and submitted to the Chinese. Huhanye used Chinese support to weaken Zhizhi, who gradually moved west. In 49 BC, a brother to Tuqi set himself up as Chanyu and was killed by Zhizhi. In 36 BC, Zhizhi was killed by a Chinese army while trying to establish a new kingdom in the far west near Lake Balkhash.
Tributary relations with the Han
In 53 BC Huhanye (呼韓邪) decided to enter into tributary relations with Han China. The original terms insisted on by the Han court were that, first, the Chanyu or his representatives should come to the capital to pay homage; secondly, the Chanyu should send a hostage prince; and thirdly, the Chanyu should present tribute to the Han emperor. The political status of the Xiongnu in the Chinese world order was reduced from that of a "brotherly state" to that of an "outer vassal" (外臣). During this period, however, the Xiongnu maintained political sovereignty and full territorial integrity. The Great Wall of China continued to serve as the line of demarcation between Han and Xiongnu.
Huhanye sent his son, the "wise king of the right" Shuloujutang, to the Han court as hostage. In 51 BC he personally visited Chang'an to pay homage to the emperor on the Lunar New Year. In the same year, another envoy Qijushan (稽居狦) was received at the Ganquan Palace in the north-west of modern Shanxi. On the financial side, Huhanye was amply rewarded in large quantities of gold, cash, clothes, silk, horses and grain for his participation. Huhanye made two further homage trips, in 49 BC and 33 BC; with each one the imperial gifts were increased. On the last trip, Huhanye took the opportunity to ask to be allowed to become an imperial son-in-law. As a sign of the decline in the political status of the Xiongnu, Emperor Yuan refused, giving him instead five ladies-in-waiting. One of them was Wang Zhaojun, famed in Chinese folklore as one of the Four Beauties.
When Zhizhi learned of his brother's submission, he also sent a son to the Han court as hostage in 53 BC. Then twice, in 51 BC and 50 BC, he sent envoys to the Han court with tribute. But having failed to pay homage personally, he was never admitted to the tributary system. In 36 BC, a junior officer named Chen Tang, with the help of Gan Yanshou, protector-general of the Western Regions, assembled an expeditionary force that defeated him at the Battle of Zhizhi and sent his head as a trophy to Chang'an.
Tributary relations were discontinued during the reign of Huduershi (18 AD–48), corresponding to the political upheavals of the Xin Dynasty. The Xiongnu took the opportunity to regain control of the western regions, as well as neighboring peoples such as the Wuhuan. In 24 AD, Hudershi even talked about reversing the tributary system.
Southern Xiongnu and Northern Xiongnu
The Xiongnu's new power was met with a policy of appeasement by Emperor Guangwu. At the height of his power, Huduershi even compared himself to his illustrious ancestor, Modu. Due to growing regionalism among the Xiongnu, however, Huduershi was never able to establish unquestioned authority. In contravention of a principle of fraternal succession established by Huhanye, Huduershi designated his son Punu as heir-apparent. However, as the eldest son of the preceding chanyu, Bi (Pi)—the Rizhu King of the Right—had a more legitimate claim. Consequently, Bi refused to attend the annual meeting at the chanyu's court. Nevertheless, in 46 AD, Punu ascended the throne.
In 48 AD, a confederation of eight Xiongnu tribes in Bi's power base in the south, with a military force totalling 40,000 to 50,000 men, seceded from Punu's kingdom and acclaimed Bi as chanyu. This kingdom became known as the Southern Xiongnu.
The rump kingdom under Punu, around the Orkhon (modern north central Mongolia) became known as the Northern Xiongnu. Punu, who became known as the Northern Chanyu, began to put military pressure on the Southern Xiongnu.
In 49 AD, Tsi Yung, a Han governor of Liaodong, allied with the Wuhuan and Xianbei, attacked the Northern Xiongnu. The Northern Xiongnu suffered two major defeats: one at the hands of the Xianbei in 85 AD, and by the Han during the Battle of Ikh Bayan, in 89 AD. The northern chanyu fled to the north-west with his subjects.
According to the fifth-century Book of Wei, the remnants of Northern Chanyu's tribe settled as Yueban (悅般), near Kucha and subjugated the Wusun; while the rest fled across the Altai mountains towards Kangju in Transoxania. It states that this group later became the Hephthalites.
Coincidentally, the Southern Xiongnu were plagued by natural disasters and misfortunes—in addition to the threat posed by Punu. Consequently, in 50 AD, the Southern Xiongnu submitted to tributary relations with Han China. The system of tribute was considerably tightened by the Han, to keep the Southern Xiongnu under control. The chanyu was ordered to establish his court in the Meiji district of Xihe Commandery and the Southern Xiongnu were resettled in eight frontier commanderies. At the same time, large numbers of Chinese were also resettled in these commanderies, in mixed Han-Xiongnu settlements. Economically, the Southern Xiongnu became reliant on trade with the Han.
Tensions were evident between Han settlers and practitioners of the nomadic way of life. Thus, in 94, Anguo Chanyu joined forces with newly subjugated Xiongnu from the north and started a large scale rebellion against the Han.
During the late 2nd century AD, the southern Xiongnu were drawn into the rebellions then plaguing the Han court. In 188, the chanyu was murdered by some of his own subjects for agreeing to send troops to help the Han suppress a rebellion in Hebei—many of the Xiongnu feared that it would set a precedent for unending military service to the Han court. The murdered chanyu's son Yufuluo, entitled Chizhisizhu (持至尸逐侯), succeeded him, but was then overthrown by the same rebellious faction in 189. He travelled to Luoyang (the Han capital) to seek aid from the Han court, but at this time the Han court was in disorder from the clash between Grand General He Jin and the eunuchs, and the intervention of the warlord Dong Zhuo. The chanyu had no choice but to settle down with his followers in Pingyang, a city in Shanxi. In 195, he died and was succeeded as chanyu by his brother Huchuquan Chanyu.
In 215–216 AD, the warlord-statesman Cao Cao detained Huchuquan Chanyu in the city of Ye, and divided his followers in Shanxi into five divisions: left, right, south, north and centre. This was aimed at preventing the exiled Xiongnu in Shanxi from engaging in rebellion, and also allowed Cao Cao to use the Xiongnu as auxiliaries in his cavalry.
Later the Xiongnu aristocracy in Shanxi changed their surname from Luanti to Liu for prestige reasons, claiming that they were related to the Han imperial clan through the old intermarriage policy. After Huchuquan, the Southern Xiongnu were partitioned into five local tribes. Each local chief was under the "surveillance of a chinese resident", while the shanyu was in "semicaptivity at the imperial court."
Later Xiongnu states in northern China
The Southern Xiongnu that settled in northern China during the Eastern Han dynasty retained their tribal affiliation and political organization and played an active role in Chinese politics. During the Sixteen Kingdoms (304–439 CE), Southern Xiongnu leaders founded or ruled several kingdoms, including Liu Yuan's Han Zhao Kingdom (also known as Former Zhao), Helian Bobo's Xia and Juqu Mengxun's Northern Liang
Fang Xuanling's Book of Jin lists nineteen Xiongnu tribes: Tuge (屠各), Xianzhi (鮮支), Koutou (寇頭), Wutan (烏譚), Chile (赤勒), Hanzhi (捍蛭), Heilang (黑狼), Chisha (赤沙), Yugang (鬱鞞), Weisuo (萎莎), Tutong (禿童), Bomie (勃蔑), Qiangqu (羌渠), Helai (賀賴), Zhongqin (鐘跂), Dalou (大樓), Yongqu (雍屈), Zhenshu (真樹) and Lijie (力羯).
Han Zhao dynasty (304–329)
In 304, Liu Yuan became Chanyu of the Five Hordes. In 308, declared himself emperor and founded the Han Zhao Dynasty. In 311, his son and successor Liu Cong captured Luoyang, and with it the Emperor Huai of Jin China.
- Reign of Liu Yao (318–329)
In 318, after suppressing a coup by a powerful minister in the Xiongnu-Han court, in which the emperor and a large proportion of the aristocracy were massacred, the Xiongnu prince Liu Yao moved the Xiongnu-Han capital from Pingyang to Chang'an and renamed the dynasty as Zhao. Liu Yuan had declared the empire's name Han to create a linkage with Han Dynasty—to which he claimed he was a descendant, through a princess, but Liu Yao felt that it was time to end the linkage with Han and explicitly restore the linkage to the great Xiongnu chanyu Maodun, and therefore decided to change the name of the state. (However, this was not a break from Liu Yuan, as he continued to honor Liu Yuan and Liu Cong posthumously; it is hence known to historians collectively as Han Zhao.)
However, the eastern part of north China came under the control of a rebel Xiongnu-Han general of Jie ancestry named Shi Le. Liu Yao and Shi Le fought a long war until 329, when Liu Yao was captured in battle and executed. Chang'an fell to Shi Le soon after, and the Xiongnu dynasty was wiped out. North China was ruled by Shi Le's Later Zhao dynasty for the next 20 years.
However, the "Liu" Xiongnu remained active in the north for at least another century.
Tiefu tribe and Hu Xia dynasty (260–431)
The northern Tiefu branch of the Xiongnu gained control of what is modern-day Inner Mongolia in the 10 years between the conquest of the Xianbei-ruled state of Dai by the Former Qin dynasty in 376, and its restoration in 386 as the Northern Wei dynasty. After 386, the Tiefu were gradually destroyed by or surrendered to the Tuoba, with the submitting Tiefu becoming known as the Dugu. Liu Bobo, a surviving prince of the Tiefu fled to the Ordos Loop, where he founded a state called the Hu Xia dynasty (thus named because of the Xiongnu's supposed ancestry from the Xia dynasty) and changed his surname to Helian (赫連). The Hu Xia dynasty was conquered by the Northern Wei in 428–31, and the Xiongnu thenceforth effectively ceased to play a major role in Chinese history, assimilating into the Xianbei and Han ethnicities.
Tongwancheng (meaning "Unite All Nations") was the capital of the Hu Xia, whose rulers claimed descent from Modu Chanyu.
The ruined city was discovered in 1996 and the State Council designated it as a cultural relic under top state protection. The repair of the Yong'an Platform, where Helian Bobo, emperor of the Da Xia regime, reviewed parading troops, has been finished and restoration on the 31-meter-tall turret follows.
Juqu clan and Northern Liang dynasty (401–460)
The Juqu clan was of Lushuihu origin, a branch of the Xiongnu. Their leader Juqu Mengxun took over the Northern Liang dynasty by overthrowing the former puppet ruler Duan Ye. By 439, the Juqu power was destroyed by the Northern Wei dynasty. Their remnants were then settled in the city of Gaochang before being destroyed by the Rouran.
The Xiongnu confederation was unusually long-lived for a steppe empire. The purpose of raiding the Central Plain was not simply for goods, but to force the Central Plain polity to pay regular tribute. The power of the Xiongnu ruler was based on his control of Han tribute which he used to reward his supporters. The Han and Xiongnu empires rose at the same time because the Xiongnu state depended on Han tribute. A major Xiongnu weakness was the custom of lateral succession. If a dead ruler's son was not old enough to take command, power passed to the late ruler's brother. This worked in the first generation but could lead to civil war in the second generation. The first time this happened, in 60 BC, the weaker party adopted what Barfield calls the 'inner frontier strategy.' They moved south and submitted to the dominant Central Plain regime and then used the resources obtained from their overlord to defeat the Northern Xiongnu and re-establish the empire. The second time this happened, about 47 AD, the strategy failed. The southern ruler was unable to defeat the northern ruler and the Xiongnu remained divided.
|Pronunciation of 匈奴|
Source: Schuessler (2014:264)
& Zhengzhang Shangfang.
|Old Chinese (318 BCE):||*hoŋ-nâ|
|Eastern Han Chinese:||*hɨoŋ-nɑ|
|Modern Mandarin:||[ɕjʊ́ŋ nǔ]|
There are several theories on the ethnolinguistic identity of the Xiongnu.
The Xiongnu-Hun hypothesis was originally proposed by the 18th-century French historian Joseph de Guignes, who noticed that ancient Chinese scholars had referred to members of tribes which were associated with the Xiongnu by names which were similar to the name "Hun", albeit with varying Chinese characters. Étienne de la Vaissière has shown that, in the Sogdian script used in the so-called "Sogdian Ancient Letters", both the Xiongnu and the Huns were referred to as the γwn (xwn), which indicates that the two names were synonymous. Although the theory that the Xiongnu were the precursors of the Huns as they were later known in Europe is now accepted by many scholars, it has yet to become a consensus view. The identification with the Huns may either be incorrect or it may be an oversimplification (as would appear to be the case with a proto-Mongol people, the Rouran, who have sometimes been linked to the Avars of Central Europe).
There is a general consensus among scholars that the Xiongnu elite were originally Iranian. Harold Walter Bailey proposed an Iranian origin of the Xiongnu, recognizing all of the earliest Xiongnu names of the 2nd century BC as being of the Iranian type. Central Asian scholar Christopher I. Beckwith notes that the Xiongnu name could be a cognate of Scythian, Saka and Sogdia, corresponding to a name for Northern Iranians. According to Beckwith the Xiongnu could have contained a leading Iranian component when they started out, but more likely they had earlier been subjects of an Iranian people and learned the Iranian nomadic model from them.
In the 1994 UNESCO-published History of Civilizations of Central Asia, its editor János Harmatta claims that the royal tribes and kings of the Xiongnu bore Iranian names, that all Xiongnu words noted by the Chinese can be explained from a Scythian language, and that it is therefore clear that the majority of Xiongnu tribes spoke an Eastern Iranian language.
According to a study by Alexander Savelyev and Choongwon Jeong, published in 2020 in the journal Evolutionary Human Sciences by Cambridge University Press, "The predominant part of the Xiongnu population is likely to have spoken Turkic". However, important cultural, technological and genetic contributions of Iranian-speakers to the Xiongnu culture were also mentioned. According to various studies compiled by these authors, 18% of Xiongnu ancestry was closely related to individuals from the BMAC population of Gonur Depe, which is common in modern day people from Iran. An additional ~22% of the Xiongnu's West Eurasian ancestry was linked to the Sintashta culture. The rest of the Xiongnu ancestry (~58%) was represented by the late bronze age East Eurasian Khovsgol population.
Lajos Ligeti was the first to suggest that the Xiongnu spoke a Yeniseian language. In the early 1960s Edwin Pulleyblank was the first to expand upon this idea with credible evidence. The Yeniseian theory proposes that the Jie, a western Xiongnu people, spoke a Yeniseian language. Hyun Jin Kim notes that the 7th AD Chinese conpendium, Jin Shu, contains a transliterated song of Jie origin, which appears to be Yeniseian. This song has led researchers Pulleyblank and Vovin to argue for a Yeniseian Jie dominant minority, that ruled over the other Xiongnu ethnicities, like Iranian and Turkic people. Kim has stated that the dominant Xiongnu language was likely Turkic or Yeniseian, but has cautioned that the Xiongnu were definitely a multi-ethnic society.
Pulleybank and D. N. Keightley asserted that the Xiongnu titles "were originally Siberian words but were later borrowed by the Turkic and Mongolic peoples". Titles such as tarqan, tegin and kaghan were also inherited from the Xiongnu language and are possibly of Yeniseian origin. For example, the Xiongnu word for "heaven" is theorized to come from Proto-Yeniseian tɨŋVr.
Vocabulary from Xiongnu inscriptions sometimes appears to have Yeniseian cognates, such as Xiongnu kʷala 'son' and Ket qalek 'younger son', Xiongnu sakdak 'boot' appears to be similar to Ket sagdi 'boot' and Xiongnu gʷawa "prince" and Ket gij "prince" or Xiongnu dar "north" and Yugh tɨr "north". Pulleyblank also argued that because Xiongnu words appear to have clusters with r and l, in the beginning of the word it is unlikely to be of Turkic origin, and instead believed that most vocabulary we have mostly resemble Yeniseian languages.
Alexander Vovin also wrote, that some names of horses in the Xiongnu language appear to be Turkic words with Yeniseian prefixes.
An analysis by Savalyev and Jeong has cast doubt on the Yeniseian theory. The Xiongnu were characterized by a genetic affinity to Iranian speakers, which is lacking in modern-day Yeniseian speakers such as Kets, who are more genetically similar to Samoyedic speakers than to Xiongnu individuals and other Iron Age Siberians.
According to a study by Alexander Savelyev and Choongwon Jeong, published in 2020 in the journal Evolutionary Human Sciences by Cambridge University Press, "The predominant part of the Xiongnu population is likely to have spoken Turkic". However, genetic studies found a mixture of haplogroups from western and eastern Eurasian origins that suggested a large genetic diversity within, and possibly multiple origins of Xiongnu elites. The Turkic-related component may be brought by eastern Eurasian genetic substratum.
Other proponents of a Turkic language theory include E.H. Parker, Jean-Pierre Abel-Rémusat, Julius Klaproth, Gustaf John Ramstedt, Annemarie von Gabain,, and Charles Hucker. André Wink states that the Xiongnu probably spoke an early form of Turkic; even if Xiongnu were not "Turks" nor Turkic-speaking, they were in close contact with Turkic-speakers very early on. Craig Benjamin sees the Xiongnu as either proto-Turks or proto-Mongols who possibly spoke a language related to the Dingling.
Chinese sources link several Turkic peoples to the Xiongnu:
- According to the Book of Zhou, History of Northern Dynasties, Tongdian, New Book of Tang, the Göktürks and the ruling Ashina clan was a component of the Xiongnu confederation,
- Uyghur Khagans claimed descent from the Xiongnu (according to Chinese history Weishu, the founder of the Uyghur Khaganate was descended from a Xiongnu ruler).
- Book of Wei states that the Yueban descended from remnants of the Northern Xiongnu chanyu's tribe and that Yueban's language and customs resembled Gaoche (高車), another name of the Tiele.
- Book of Jin lists 19 southern Xiongnu tribes who entered Former Yan's borders, the 14th being the Alat (Ch. 賀賴 Helai ~ 賀蘭 Helan ~ 曷剌 Hela); Alat being glossed "piebald horse" (Ch. 駁馬 ~ 駮馬 Boma) in Old Turkic.
Mongolian and other scholars have suggested that the Xiongnu spoke a language related to the Mongolic languages. Mongolian archaeologists proposed that the Slab Grave Culture people were the ancestors of the Xiongnu, and some scholars have suggested that the Xiongnu may have been the ancestors of the Mongols. Nikita Bichurin considered Xiongnu and Xianbei to be two subgroups (or dynasties) of but one same ethnicity.
According to the "Book of Song", the Rourans, whom Book of Wei identified as offspring of Proto-Mongolic Donghu people, possessed the alternative name(s) 大檀 Dàtán "Tatar" and/or 檀檀 Tántán "Tartar" and according to Book of Liang, "they also constituted a separate branch of the Xiongnu". Old Book of Tang mentioned twenty Shiwei tribes, whom other Chinese sources (Book of Sui, New Book of Tang) associated with the Khitans, another people who in turn descended from the Xianbei and were also associated with the Xiongnu. While the Xianbei, Khitans, and Shiwei are generally believed to be predominantly Mongolic- and Para-Mongolic-speaking, yet Xianbei were stated to descend from the Donghu, whom Sima Qian distinguished from the Xiongnu. (notwithstanding Sima Qian's inconsistency). Additionally, Chinese chroniclers routinely ascribed Xiongnu origins to various nomadic groups: for examples, Xiongnu ancestry was ascribed to Para-Mongolic-speaking Kumo Xi as well as Turkic-speaking Göktürks and Tiele;
Genghis Khan refers to the time of Modu Chanyu as "the remote times of our Chanyu" in his letter to Daoist Qiu Chuji. Sun and moon symbol of Xiongnu that discovered by archaeologists is similar to Mongolian Soyombo symbol.
Since the early 19th century, a number of Western scholars have proposed a connection between various language families or subfamilies and the language or languages of the Xiongnu. Albert Terrien de Lacouperie considered them to be multi-component groups. Many scholars believe the Xiongnu confederation was a mixture of different ethno-linguistic groups, and that their main language (as represented in the Chinese sources) and its relationships have not yet been satisfactorily determined. Kim rejects "old racial theories or even ethnic affiliations" in favour of the "historical reality of these extensive, multiethnic, polyglot steppe empires".
Chinese sources link the Tiele people and Ashina to the Xiongnu, not all Turkic peoples. According to the Book of Zhou and the History of the Northern Dynasties, the Ashina clan was a component of the Xiongnu confederation, but this connection is disputed, and according to the Book of Sui and the Tongdian, they were "mixed nomads" (traditional Chinese: 雜胡; simplified Chinese: 杂胡; pinyin: zá hú) from Pingliang. The Ashina and Tiele may have been separate ethnic groups who mixed with the Xiongnu. Indeed, Chinese sources link many nomadic peoples (hu; see Wu Hu) on their northern borders to the Xiongnu, just as Greco-Roman historiographers called Avars and Huns "Scythians". The Greek cognate of Tourkia (Greek: Τουρκία) was used by the Byzantine emperor and scholar Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus in his book De Administrando Imperio, though in his use, "Turks" always referred to Magyars. Such archaizing was a common literary topos, and implied similar geographic origins and nomadic lifestyle but not direct filiation.
Some Uyghurs claimed descent from the Xiongnu (according to Chinese history Weishu, the founder of the Uyghur Khaganate was descended from a Xiongnu ruler), but many contemporary scholars do not consider the modern Uyghurs to be of direct linear descent from the old Uyghur Khaganate because modern Uyghur language and Old Uyghur languages are different. Rather, they consider them to be descendants of a number of people, one of them the ancient Uyghurs.
In various kinds of ancient inscriptions on monuments of Munmu of Silla, it is recorded that King Munmu had Xiongnu ancestry. According to several historians, it is possible that there were tribes of Koreanic origin. There are also some Korean researchers that point out that the grave goods of Silla and of the eastern Xiongnu are alike.
Language isolate theories
The original geographic location of the Xiongnu is disputed among steppe archaeologists. Since the 1960s, the geographic origin of the Xiongnu has attempted to be traced through an analysis of Early Iron Age burial constructions. No region has been proven to have mortuary practices that clearly match those of the Xiongnu.
In the 1920s, Pyotr Kozlov's oversaw the excavation of royal tombs at the Noin-Ula burial site in northern Mongolia, dated to around the first century CE. Other Xiongnu sites have been unearthed in Inner Mongolia, such as the Ordos culture. Sinologist Otto Maenchen-Helfen has said that depictions of the Xiongnu of Transbaikalia and the Ordos show commonly show individuals with West Eurasian features. Iaroslav Lebedynsky said that West Eurasian depictions in the Ordos region should be attributed to a "Scythian affinity".
Portraits found in the Noin-Ula excavations demonstrate other cultural evidences and influences, showing that Chinese and Xiongnu art have influenced each other mutually. Some of these embroidered portraits in the Noin-Ula kurgans also depict the Xiongnu with long braided hair with wide ribbons, which is seen to be identical with the Ashina clan hair-style. Well-preserved bodies in Xiongnu and pre-Xiongnu tombs in the Mongolian Republic and southern Siberia show both East Asian and West Eurasian features.
Analysis of cranial remains from some sites attributed to the Xiongnu have revealed that they had dolichocephalic skulls with East Asian craniometrical features, setting them apart from neighboring populations in present-day Mongolia. Russian and Chinese anthropological and craniofacial studies show that the Xiongnu were physically very heterogenous, with six different population clusters showing different degrees of West Eurasian and East Asian physical traits.
Presently, there exist four fully excavated and well documented cemeteries: Ivolga, Dyrestui, Burkhan Tolgoi, and Daodunzi. Additionally thousands of tombs have been recorded in Transbaikalia and Mongolia.
The archaeologists have chosen to, for the most part, refrain from positing anything about Han-Xiongnu relations based on the material excavated. However, they were willing to mention the following:
"There is no clear indication of the ethnicity of this tomb occupant, but in a similar brick-chambered tomb of the late Eastern Han period at the same cemetery, archaeologists discovered a bronze seal with the official title that the Han government bestowed upon the leader of the Xiongnu. The excavators suggested that these brick chamber tombs all belong to the Xiongnu (Qinghai 1993)."
Classifications of these burial sites make distinction between two prevailing type of burials: "(1) monumental ramped terrace tombs which are often flanked by smaller "satellite" burials and (2) 'circular' or 'ring' burials." Some scholars consider this a division between "elite" graves and "commoner" graves. Other scholars, find this division too simplistic and not evocative of a true distinction because it shows "ignorance of the nature of the mortuary investments and typically luxuriant burial assemblages [and does not account for] the discovery of other lesser interments that do not qualify as either of these types."
A 2003 study found that 89% of Xiongnu maternal lineages are of East Asian origin, while 11% were of West Eurasian origin. However, a 2016 study found that 37.5% of Xiongnu maternal lineages were West Eurasian, in a central Mongolian sample.
According to Rogers & Kaestle (2022), these studies make clear that the Xiongnu population is extremely similar to the preceding Slab Grave population, which had a similar frequency of Eastern and Western maternal haplogroups, supporting a hypothesis of continuity from the Slab Grave period to the Xiongnu. They wrote that the bulk of the genetics research indicates that roughly 27% of Xiongnu maternal haplogroups were of West Eurasian origin, while the rest were East Asian.
According to Rogers & Kaestle (2022), roughly 47% of Xiongnu paternal haplogroups were of West Eurasian origin, while the rest were of East Asian origin. They observed that this contrasts strongly with the preceding Slab Grave period, which was dominated by East Asian patrilineages. They suggest that this may reflect an aggressive expansion of people with West Eurasian paternal haplogroups, or perhaps the practice of marriage alliances favoring people with Western patrilines.
A genetic study published in Nature in May 2018 examined the remains of five Xiongnu. The study concluded that Xiongnu confederation was genetically heterogeneous, and Xiongnu individuals belonging to two distinct groups, one being of East Asian origin and the other presenting considerable admixture levels with West Eurasian (possibly from Central Saka) sources. The evidence suggested that the Huns probably emerged through minor male-driven East Asian geneflow into the Saka through westward migrations of the Xiongnu.
A study published in November 2020 examined 60 early and late Xiongnu individuals from across of Mongolia. By admixture they formed three distinct clusters, "early/Xiongnu_west" related to Scythians, "early/Xiongnu_rest" with more Northeastern Asian ancestry and "late/Xiongnu" with high heterogenity having Sarmatian and Han Chinese gene pool influence. Their uniparental haplogroup assignments also showed heterogenetic influence on their ethnogenesis as well as their connection with Huns.
Within the Xiongnu culture more variety is visible from site to site than from "era" to "era," in terms of the Chinese chronology, yet all form a whole that is distinct from that of the Han and other peoples of the non-Chinese north. In some instances, the iconography cannot be used as the main cultural identifier, because art depicting animal predation is common among the steppe peoples. An example of animal predation associated with Xiongnu culture is that of a tiger carrying dead prey. A similar motif appears in work from Maoqinggou, a site which is presumed to have been under Xiongnu political control but is still clearly non-Xiongnu. In the Maoqinggou example, the prey is replaced with an extension of the tiger's foot. The work also depicts a cruder level of execution; Maoqinggou work was executed in a rounder, less detailed style. In its broadest sense, Xiongnu iconography of animal predation includes examples such as the gold headdress from Aluchaideng and gold earrings with a turquoise and jade inlay discovered in Xigouban, Inner Mongolia.
Xiongnu art is harder to distinguish from Saka or Scythian art. There is a similarity present in stylistic execution, but Xiongnu art and Saka art often differ in terms of iconography. Saka art does not appear to have included predation scenes, especially with dead prey, or same-animal combat. Additionally, Saka art included elements not common to Xiongnu iconography, such as winged, horned horses. The two cultures also used two different kinds of bird heads. Xiongnu depictions of birds tend to have a medium-sized eye and beak, and they are also depicted with ears, while Saka birds have a pronounced eye and beak, and no ears. Some scholars[who?] claim these differences are indicative of cultural differences. Scholar Sophia-Karin Psarras suggests that Xiongnu images of animal predation, specifically tiger-and-prey, are spiritual, representative of death and rebirth, and that same-animal combat is representative of the acquisition or maintenance of power.
Rock art and writing
The rock art of the Yin and Helan Mountains is dated from the 9th millennium BC to the 19th century AD. It consists mainly of engraved signs (petroglyphs) and only minimally of painted images. The Records of the Grand Historian (vol. 110) state that when the Xiongnu noted down something or transmitted a message, they made cuts on a piece of wood; they also mention a "Hu script".
Chinese sources indicate that the Xiongnu did not have an ideographic form of writing like Chinese, but in the 2nd century BC, a renegade Chinese dignitary Yue "taught the Shanyu to write official letters to the Chinese court on a wooden tablet 31 cm long, and to use a seal and large-sized folder." The same sources tell that when the Xiongnu noted down something or transmitted a message, they made cuts on a piece of wood ('ke-mu'), and they also mention a "Hu script". At Noin-Ula and other Xiongnu burial sites in Mongolia and the region north of Lake Baikal, among the objects discovered during excavations conducted between 1924 and 1925 were over 20 carved characters. Most of these characters are either identical or very similar to letters of the Old Turkic alphabet of the Early Middle Ages found on the Eurasian steppes. From this, some specialists conclude that the Xiongnu used a script similar to the ancient Eurasian runiform, and that this alphabet was a basis for later Turkic writing.
Religion and diet
According to the Book of Han, "the Xiongnu called Heaven (天) 'Chēnglí,' (撐犁)  a Chinese transcription of Tengri. The Xiongnu were a nomadic people. From their lifestyle of herding flocks and their horse-trade with China, it can be concluded that their diet consist mainly of mutton, horse meat and wild geese that were shot down.
- Coatsworth, John; Cole, Juan; Hanagan, Michael P.; Perdue, Peter C.; Tilly, Charles; Tilly, Louise (16 March 2015). Global Connections: Volume 1, To 1500: Politics, Exchange, and Social Life in World History. Cambridge University Press. p. 138. ISBN 978-1-316-29777-3.
- Atlas of World History. Oxford University Press. 2002. p. 51. ISBN 978-0-19-521921-0.
- Fauve, Jeroen (2021). The European Handbook of Central Asian Studies. p. 403. ISBN 978-3-8382-1518-1.
- Zheng Zhang (Chinese: 鄭張), Shang-fang (Chinese: 尚芳). 匈 – 上古音系第一三千八百九十字 [匈 - The 13890th word of the Ancient Phonological System]. ytenx.org [韻典網] (in Chinese). Rearranged by BYVoid.
- Zheng Zhang (Chinese: 鄭張), Shang-fang (Chinese: 尚芳). 奴 – 上古音系第九千六百字 [奴 – The 9600th word of the Ancient Phonological System]. ytenx.org [韻典網] (in Chinese). Rearranged by BYVoid.
- Martini, Martino (2002). Opera omnia. ISBN 9788884430281.
- "Xiongnu People". britannica.com. Encyclopædia Britannica. Archived from the original on 2020-03-11. Retrieved 2015-07-25.
- Di Cosmo 2004, p. 186.
- Chase-Dunn, C.; Anderson, E. (18 February 2005). The Historical Evolution of World-Systems. Springer. p. 36-37. ISBN 978-1-4039-8052-6. "The primary focus of the new threat became the Xiongnu who emerged rather abruotly in the late 4th century B.C. ijitially subordinated to the Yuezhi, the Xiongnu overthrew the nomadic hierarchy while also escalating its attacks on Chinese areas."
- Grousset 1970, pp. 19, 26–27.
- Pulleyblank 2000, p. 17.
- Schuessler 2014, pp. 257, 264.
- Beckwith 2009, p. 404–405 notes 51–52.
- Étienne de la Vaissière (15 November 2006). "Xiongnu". Encyclopedia Iranica online. Archived from the original on 2012-01-04.
- Harmatta 1994, p. 488: "Their royal tribes and kings (shan-yü) bore Iranian names and all the Hsiung-nu words noted by the Chinese can be explained from an Iranian language of Saka type. It is therefore clear that the majority of Hsiung-nu tribes spoke an Eastern Iranian language."
- Bailey 1985, pp. 21–45.
- Jankowski 2006, pp. 26–27.
- Tumen D (February 2011). "Anthropology of Archaeological Populations from Northeast Asia" (PDF). Oriental Studies. Dankook University Institute of Oriental Studies. 49: 25, 27. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-07-29.
- Hucker 1975, p. 136.
- Savelyev, Alexander; Jeong, Choongwon (10 May 2020). "Early nomads of the Eastern Steppe and their tentative connections in the West". Evolutionary Human Sciences. 2. doi:10.1017/ehs.2020.18. hdl:21.11116/0000-0007-772B-4. PMC 7612788. PMID 35663512. S2CID 218935871.
The predominant part of the Xiongnu population is likely to have spoken Turkic (Late Proto-Turkic, to be more precise).
- Di Cosmo 2004, p. 166.
- Adas 2001, p. 88.
- Vovin, Alexander (2000). "Did the Xiongnu speak a Yeniseian language?". Central Asiatic Journal. 44 (1): 87–104. JSTOR 41928223.
- 高晶一, Jingyi Gao (2017). 確定夏國及凱特人的語言為屬於漢語族和葉尼塞語系共同詞源 [Xia and Ket Identified by Sinitic and Yeniseian Shared Etymologies]. Central Asiatic Journal. 60 (1–2): 51–58. doi:10.13173/centasiaj.60.1-2.0051. JSTOR 10.13173/centasiaj.60.1-2.0051.
- Geng 2005.
- Yü, Ying-shih (1986). "Han Foreign Relations". The Cambridge History of China, Volume 1: The Ch'in and Han Empires, 221 BC – AD 220. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 384. ISBN 978-0-521-24327-8.
- Gao, Jingyi (高晶一) (2013). "Huns and Xiongnu Identified by Hungarian and Yeniseian Shared Etymologies" (PDF). Central Asiatic Journal. 56: 41. ISSN 0008-9192. JSTOR 10.13173/centasiaj.56.2013.0041.
- Atwood, Christopher P. (2015). "The Kai, the Khongai, and the Names of the Xiōngnú". International Journal of Eurasian Studies. 2: p of 45-47 of 35–63.
- Narasimhan, Vagheesh M.; Patterson, Nick; Moorjani, Priya; Rohland, Nadin; Bernardos, Rebecca (6 September 2019). "The formation of human populations in South and Central Asia". Science. 365 (6457). doi:10.1126/science.aat7487. ISSN 0036-8075. PMC 6822619. PMID 31488661.
- Khenzykhenova, Fedora I.; Kradin, Nikolai N.; Danukalova, Guzel A.; Shchetnikov, Alexander A.; Osipova, Eugenia M.; Matveev, Arkady N.; Yuriev, Anatoly L.; Namzalova, Oyuna D. -Ts; Prokopets, Stanislav D.; Lyashchevskaya, Marina A.; Schepina, Natalia A.; Namsaraeva, Solonga B.; Martynovich, Nikolai V. (30 April 2020). "The human environment of the Xiongnu Ivolga Fortress (West Trans-Baikal area, Russia): Initial data". Quaternary International. 546: 216–228. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2019.09.041. ISSN 1040-6182. "The slab graves culture existed in this territory prior to the Xiongnu empire. Sites of this culture dating back to approximately 1100-400/300 BC are common in Mongolia and the Trans-Baikal area. The earliest calibrated dates are prior to 1500 BC (Miyamoto et al., 2016). Later dates are usually 100–200 years earlier than the Xiongnu culture. Therefore, it is customarily considered that the slab grave culture preceded the Xiongnu culture. There is only one case, reported by Miyamoto et al. (2016), in which the date of the slab grave corresponds to the time of the making of the Xiongnu Empire."}}
- Rogers & Kaestle 2022
- Linduff, Katheryn M.; Rubinson, Karen S. (2021). Pazyryk Culture Up in the Altai. Routledge. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-429-85153-7.
The rise of the confederation of the Xiongnu, in addition, clearly affected this region as it did most regions of the Altai
- "Pazyryk | archaeological site, Kazakhstan". Britannica.com. 11 September 2001. Retrieved 2019-03-05.
- State Hermitage Museum 2007
- Whitehouse 2016, p. 369: "From that time until the HAN dynasty the Ordos steppe was the home of semi-nomadic Indo-European peoples whose culture can be regarded as an eastern province of a vast Eurasian continuum of Scytho-Siberian cultures."
- Harmatta 1992, p. 348: "From the first millennium b.c., we have abundant historical, archaeological and linguistic sources for the location of the territory inhabited by the Iranian peoples. In this period the territory of the northern Iranians, they being equestrian nomads, extended over the whole zone of the steppes and the wooded steppes and even the semi-deserts from the Great Hungarian Plain to the Ordos in northern China."
- Unterländer, Martina; Palstra, Friso; Lazaridis, Iosif; Pilipenko, Aleksandr; Hofmanová, Zuzana; Groß, Melanie; Sell, Christian; Blöcher, Jens; Kirsanow, Karola; Rohland, Nadin; Rieger, Benjamin (3 March 2017). "Ancestry and demography and descendants of Iron Age nomads of the Eurasian Steppe". Nature Communications. 8: 14615. Bibcode:2017NatCo...814615U. doi:10.1038/ncomms14615. ISSN 2041-1723. PMC 5337992. PMID 28256537.
- Benjamin, Craig (29 March 2017). "The Yuezhi". Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Asian History. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780190277727.013.49. ISBN 978-0-19-027772-7.
- Bang, Peter Fibiger; Bayly, C. A.; Scheidel, Walter (2 December 2020). The Oxford World History of Empire: Volume Two: The History of Empires. Oxford University Press. p. 330. ISBN 978-0-19-753278-2.
- Francfort, Henri-Paul (2020). "Sur quelques vestiges et indices nouveaux de l'hellénisme dans les arts entre la Bactriane et le Gandhāra (130 av. J.-C.-100 apr. J.-C. environ)". Journal des Savants: 35–39.
- "The Account of the Xiongnu, Records of the Grand Historian",Sima Qian.DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004216358_00
- Shiji Ch. 110: Xiongnu liezhuan quote: "匈奴，其先祖夏后氏之苗裔也，曰淳維。"
- Di Cosmo 2002, p. 2.
- Shiji Vol. 81 "Stories about Lian Po and Lin Xiangru - Addendum: Li Mu" text: "李牧者，趙之北邊良將也。常居代鴈門，備匈奴。" translation: "About Li Mu, he was a good general at Zhao's northern borders. He often stationed at Dai and Wild Goose Gate, prepared [against] the Xiongnu."
- Theobald, Ulrich (2019) "Li Mu 李牧" in ChinaKnowledge.de - An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art
- Pulleyblank 1994, p. 518-520.
- Schuessler 2014, p. 264.
- Bunker 2002, pp. 27–28.
- Di Cosmo 2002, p. 129.
- Shiji, "Hereditary House of Zhao" quote: "今中山在我腹心，北有燕，東有胡，西有林胡、樓煩、秦、韓之邊，而無彊兵之救，是亡社稷，柰何？" translation: "(King Wuling of Zhao to Lou Huan:) Now Zhongshan is at our heart and belly [note: Zhao surrounded Zhongshan, except on Zhongshan's north-eastern side], Yan to the north, Hu to the east, Forest Hu, Loufan, Qin, Han at our borders to the west. Yet we have no strong army to help us, surely we will lose our country. What is to be done?"
- Compare a parallel passage in Stratagems of the Warring States, "King Wuling spends his day in idleness", quote: "自常山以至代、上黨，東有燕、東胡之境，西有樓煩、秦、韓之邊，而無騎射之備。" Jennifer Dodgson's translation: "From Mount Chang to Dai and Shangdang, our lands border Yan and the Donghu in the east, and to the west we have the Loufan and shared borders with Qin and Han. Nevertheless, we have no mounted archers ready for action."
- Shiji, Vol. 110 "Account of the Xiongnu". quote: "後秦滅六國，而始皇帝使蒙恬將十萬之眾北擊胡，悉收河南地。…… 匈奴單于曰頭曼，頭曼不勝秦，北徙。" translation: "Later on, Qin conquered the six other states, and the First Emperor dispatched general Meng Tian to lead a multitude of 100,000 north to attack the Hu; and he took all lands south the Yellow River. [...] The Xiongnu chanyu was Touman; Touman could not win against Qin, so [they] fled north."
- Di Cosmo 2002, p. 107.
- Di Cosmo 1999, pp. 892–893.
- Pulleyblank 1994, p. 514-523.
- Pulleyblank 2000, p. 20.
- Di Cosmo 1999, pp. 892–893 & 964.
- Rawson, Jessica (2017). "China and the steppe: reception and resistance". Antiquity. 91 (356): 375–388. doi:10.15184/aqy.2016.276. ISSN 0003-598X. S2CID 165092308.
- Beckwith 2009, pp. 71–73.
- Bentley 1993, p. 38.
- Di Cosmo 1999, pp. 885–966.
- Bentley 1993, p. 36.
- 又《漢書》："使王烏等窺匈奴。法，漢使不去節，不以墨黥面，不得入穹盧。王烏等去節、黥面，得入穹盧，單於愛之。" from Miscellaneous Morsels from Youyang, Scroll 8 Translation from Reed, Carrie E. (2000). "Tattoo in Early China". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 120 (3): 360–376. doi:10.2307/606008. JSTOR 606008.
- Barfield, Thomas J. (1981). "The Hsiung-nu imperial confederacy: Organization and foreign policy". The Journal of Asian Studies. 41 (1): 45–61. doi:10.2307/2055601. JSTOR 2055601. S2CID 145078285.
- Grousset 1970, p. [page needed].
- "Archeologists discover capital of Xiongnu Empire in central Mongolia".
- Yap 2009, p. liii.
- "Metropolitan Museum of Art". www.metmuseum.org.
- Bunker 2002, p. 137 item 109.
- Lo, Ping-cheung (2015). "11 Legalism and offensive realism in the Chinese court debate on defending national security 81 BCE". In Lo, Ping-cheung; Twiss, Sumner B (eds.). Chinese Just War Ethics: Origin, Development, and Dissent. War, Conflict and Ethics (illustrated ed.). Routledge. p. 269. ISBN 978-1317580973.
There were altogether nine marriages of Han princesses (fake or real) to the Xiongnu during these roughly 60 years (for a complete list of details, see Cui 2007a, 555). We will call this policy Heqin Model One, and, as Ying-shih Yu ...
- Qian, Sima (2019). Historical Records 史记: The First and Most Important Biographical General History Book in China. DeepLogic.
Liu Jing said: "The Han dynasty was just calm, the soldiers were exhausted by the fire, and the Xiongnu could not be ... If the majesty could not send a big princess, let the royal woman or the fake princess, he I will know that I will ...
- Chin, Tamara T. (2020). Savage Exchange: Han Imperialism, Chinese Literary Style, and the Economic Imagination. Harvard University Studies in East Asian Law. BRILL. p. 225. ISBN 978-1684170784.
In the Han- Wusun alliance (unlike the Han- Xiongnu heqin agreements) the gifts flowed in the proper direction, ... Thus, while Empress Lü transgressed the heqin marriage in having a false princess sent, Liu Jing's original proposal ...
- Chin, Tamara Ta Lun (2005). Savage Exchange: Figuring the Foreign in the Early Han Dynasty. University of California, Berkeley. pp. 66, 73, 74.
Figuring the Foreign in the Early Han Dynasty Tamara Ta Lun Chin ... Emperor Han Wudi's military push to reverse the power relations between Xiongnu and Han stands in stark contrast to the original ... Xiongnu with a false princess .
- Mosol, Lee (2013). Ancient History of the Manchuria. X libris Corporation. p. 77. ISBN 978-1483667676.
... 孝文皇帝 sent a girl as a new wife for the Chanyu as a 'fake princess of Royal family' with a eunuch named '中行 ... The Han lured the Xiongnu chief deep into the China proper town called "馬邑," but Gunchen Chanyu realized the trap ...
- Moorey, P. R. S. (Peter Roger Stuart); Markoe, Glenn (1981). Ancient bronzes, ceramics, and seals: The Nasli M. Heeramaneck Collection of ancient Near Eastern, central Asiatic, and European art, gift of the Ahmanson Foundation. Los Angeles, CA: Los Angeles County Museum of Art. p. 168, item 887. ISBN 978-0-87587-100-4.
- "Belt Buckle LACMA Collections". collections.lacma.org.
- Prior, Daniel (2016). "FASTENING THE BUCKLE: A STRAND OF XIONGNU-ERA NARRATIVE IN A RECENT KIRGHIZ EPIC POEM" (PDF). The Silk Road. 14: 191.
- So, Jenny F.; Bunker, Emma C. (1995). Traders and raiders on China's northern frontier. Seattle : Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, in association with University of Washington Press. pp. 22 & 90. ISBN 978-0-295-97473-6.
- , p. 31.
- Qian Sima; Burton Watson (January 1993). Records of the Grand Historian: Han dynasty. Renditions-Columbia University Press. pp. 161–. ISBN 978-0-231-08166-5.
- Monumenta Serica. H. Vetch. 2004. p. 81.
- Frederic E. Wakeman (1985). The Great Enterprise: The Manchu Reconstruction of Imperial Order in Seventeenth-century China. University of California Press. pp. 41–. ISBN 978-0-520-04804-1.
- Sima, Qian (1993). Records of the Grand Historian: Han Dynasty II. p. 128. ISBN 0231081677.
- Lin Jianming (林剑鸣) (1992). 秦漢史 [History of Qin and Han]. Wunan Publishing. pp. 557–8. ISBN 978-957-11-0574-1.
- Hong, Yuan (2018). The Sinitic Civilization Book II: A Factual History Through the Lens of Archaeology, Bronzeware, Astronomy, Divination, Calendar and the Annals (abridged ed.). iUniversе. p. 419. ISBN 978-1532058301.
- James A. Millward (2007). Eurasian crossroads: a history of Xinjiang. Columbia University Press. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-231-13924-3. Retrieved 2011-04-17.
- Julia Lovell (2007). The Great Wall: China Against the World, 1000 BC – AD 2000. Grove Press. p. 73. ISBN 978-0-8021-4297-9. Retrieved 2011-04-17.
- Alfred J. Andrea; James H. Overfield (1998). The Human Record: To 1700. Houghton Mifflin. p. 165. ISBN 978-0-395-87087-7. Retrieved 2011-04-17.
- Yiping Zhang (2005). Story of the Silk Road. China Intercontinental Press. p. 22. ISBN 978-7-5085-0832-0. Retrieved 2011-04-17.
- Charles Higham (2004). Encyclopedia of ancient Asian civilizations. Infobase Publishing. p. 409. ISBN 978-0-8160-4640-9. Retrieved 2011-04-17.
- Indian Society for Prehistoric & Quaternary Studies (1998). Man and environment, Volume 23, Issue 1. Indian Society for Prehistoric and Quaternary Studies. p. 6. Retrieved 2011-04-17.
- Adrienne Mayor (22 September 2014). The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World. Princeton University Press. pp. 422–. ISBN 978-1-4008-6513-0.
- China: Dawn of a Golden Age, 200–750 AD. Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2004. pp. 18–. ISBN 978-1-58839-126-1.
- Veronika Veit, ed. (2007). The role of women in the Altaic world: Permanent International Altaistic Conference, 44th meeting, Walberberg, 26-31 August 2001. Asiatische Forschungen. Vol. 152 (illustrated ed.). Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 61. ISBN 978-3447055376. Retrieved 2012-02-08.
- Michael Robert Drompp (2005). Tang China and the collapse of the Uighur Empire: a documentary history. Brill's Inner Asian library. Vol. 13 (illustrated ed.). BRILL. p. 126. ISBN 9004141294. Retrieved 2012-02-08.
- Kyzlasov, Leonid R. (2010). The Urban Civilization of Northern and Innermost Asia Historical and Archaeological Research (PDF). Curatores seriei VICTOR SPINEI et IONEL CANDEÂ VII. ROMANIAN ACADEMY INSTITUTE OF ARCHAEOLOGY OF IAȘI Editura Academiei Romane - Editura Istros. p. 245. ISBN 978-973-27-1962-6. Florilegium magistrorum historiae archaeologiaeque Antiqutatis et Medii Aevi.
- Drompp, Michael (2021). Tang China and the Collapse of the Uighur Empire: A Documentary History. Brill's Inner Asian Library. BRILL. p. 126. ISBN 978-9047414780.
- Veit, Veronika (2007). The role of women in the Altaic world : Permanent International Altaistic Conference, 44th meeting, Walberberg, 26-31 August 2001. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. p. 61. ISBN 978-3-447-05537-6. OCLC 182731462.
- Drompp, Michael R. (1999). "Breaking the Orkhon Tradition: Kirghiz Adherence to the Yenisei Region after A. D. 840". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 119 (3): 394–395. doi:10.2307/605932. JSTOR 605932.
- Julia Lovell (2007). The Great Wall: China Against the World, 1000 BC – AD 2000. Grove Press. p. 73. ISBN 978-0-8021-4297-9. Retrieved 2011-04-17.
- Alfred J. Andrea; James H. Overfield (1998). The Human Record: To 1700. Houghton Mifflin. p. 165. ISBN 978-0-395-87087-7. Retrieved 2011-04-17.
- Indian Society for Prehistoric & Quaternary Studies (1998). Man and environment, Volume 23, Issue 1. Indian Society for Prehistoric and Quaternary Studies. p. 6. Retrieved 2011-04-17.
- Grousset 1970, p. 34.
- Loewe 1974, p. [page needed].
- Han Shu (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju ed) 94B, p. 3824.
- Bentley 1993, p. 37.
- Grousset 1970, pp. 42–47.
- Psarras, Sophia-Karin (2 February 2015). Han Material Culture: An Archaeological Analysis and Vessel Typology. Cambridge University Press. p. 19. ISBN 978-1-316-27267-1.
- Grousset 1970, pp. 37–38.
- Fairbank & Têng 1941.
- Bunker 2002, p. 104 item 72.
- Grousset 1970, p. 39.
- Grousset 1970, p. 53.
- Book of Wei Vol. 102 (in Chinese)
- Gumilev L.N. "Ch. 15". История народа Хунну [History of Hun People] (in Russian). Moscow. Archived from the original on 2009-06-29.
- Hyun Jim Kim (2015). "2 The So-called 'Two-Hundred year Interlude'". The Huns. Routledge. ISBN 978-1317340904.
- Grousset 1970, p. 54.
- Fang, Xuanling (1958). 晉書 [Book of Jin] (in Chinese). Beijing: Commercial Press. Vol. 97
- Grousset 1970, pp. 56–57.
- Grousset 1970, pp. 57–58.
- Sand-covered Hun City Unearthed, CN: China
- National Geographic (online ed.)
- Obrusánszky, Borbála (10 October 2006). "Hunok Kínában" [Huns in China] (PDF). Amsterdam Studies (in Hungarian) (3). ISSN 1873-3042. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-07-18. Retrieved 2008-08-18.
- Xiong, Victor (2017). Historical Dictionary of Medieval China. p. 315. ISBN 9781442276161.
- Barfield 1989, p. [page needed].
- Betts, Alison; Vicziany, Marika; Jia, Peter Weiming; Castro, Angelo Andrea Di (19 December 2019). The Cultures of Ancient Xinjiang, Western China: Crossroads of the Silk Roads. Archaeopress Publishing Ltd. p. 104. ISBN 978-1-78969-407-9.
In Noin-Ula (Noyon Uul), Mongolia, the remarkable elite Xiongnu tombs have revealed textiles that are linked to the pictorial tradition of the Yuezhi: the decorative faces closely resemble the Khalchayan portraits, while the local ornaments have integrated elements of Graeco-Roman design. These artifacts were most probably manufactured in Bactria
- Francfort, Henri-Paul (1 January 2020). "Sur quelques vestiges et indices nouveaux de l'hellénisme dans les arts entre la Bactriane et le Gandhāra (130 av. J.-C.-100 apr. J.-C. environ)". Journal des Savants: 26–27, Fig.8 "Portrait royal diadémé Yuezhi" ("Diademed royal portrait of a Yuezhi").
- Polos'mak, Natalia V.; Francfort, Henri-Paul; Tsepova, Olga (2015). "Nouvelles découvertes de tentures polychromes brodées du début de notre ère dans les "tumuli" n o 20 et n o 31 de Noin-Ula (République de Mongolie)". Arts Asiatiques. 70: 3–32. doi:10.3406/arasi.2015.1881. ISSN 0004-3958. JSTOR 26358181.
Considered as Yuezhi-Saka or simply Yuezhi, and p.3: "These tapestries were apparently manufactured in Bactria or in Gandhara at the time of the Saka-Yuezhi rule, when these countries were connected with the Parthian empire and the "Hellenized East." They represent groups of men, warriors of high status, and kings and/ or princes, performing rituals of drinking, fighting or taking part in a religious ceremony, a procession leading to an altar with a fire burning on it, and two men engaged in a ritual."
- Nehru, Lolita (14 December 2020). "KHALCHAYAN". Encyclopaedia Iranica Online. Brill.
About "Khalchayan", "site of a settlement and palace of the nomad Yuezhi": "Representations of figures with faces closely akin to those of the ruling clan at Khalchayan (PLATE I) have been found in recent times on woollen fragments recovered from a nomad burial site near Lake Baikal in Siberia, Noin Ula, supplementing an earlier discovery at the same site), the pieces dating from the time of Yuezhi/Kushan control of Bactria. Similar faces appeared on woollen fragments found recently in a nomad burial in south-eastern Xinjiang (Sampula), of about the same date, manufactured probably in Bactria, as were probably also the examples from Noin Ula."
- Neumann, Iver B.; Wigen, Einar (19 July 2018). The Steppe Tradition in International Relations: Russians, Turks and European State Building 4000 BCE–2017 CE. Cambridge University Press. p. 103. ISBN 978-1-108-42079-2. "While most scholars hold the Xiongnu to have originally had a leadership from a Sogdian kinship line, Kim (2023: 28-29) argues that during their migration west, they seem to have undergone a transformation from having had a Yeniseian leadership, which ruled over various Iranic, Alanic and Turko-Mongol to developing a Turkic royal line."
- Beckwith 2009, p. 405: "Accordingly, the transcription now read as Hsiung- nu may have been pronounced * Soγdâ, * Soγlâ, * Sak(a)dâ, or even * Skla(C)da, etc."
- Savelyev, Alexander; Jeong, Choongwoon (7 May 2020). "Early nomads of the Eastern Steppe and their tentative connections in the West". Evolutionary Human Sciences. 2 (E20). doi:10.1017/ehs.2020.18. hdl:21.11116/0000-0007-772B-4. PMC 7612788. PMID 35663512. S2CID 218935871. Text was copied from this source, which is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. "Specifically, individuals from Iron Age steppe and Xiongnu have an ancestry related to present-day and ancient Iranian/Caucasus/Turan populations in addition to the ancestry components derived from the Late Bronze Age populations. We estimate that they derive between 5 and 25% of their ancestry from this new source, with 18% for Xiongnu (Table 2). We speculate that the introduction of this new western Eurasian ancestry may be linked to the Iranian elements in the Xiongnu linguistic material, while the Turkic-related component may be brought by their eastern Eurasian genetic substratum." Table 2: Sintashta_MLBA, 0.239; Khovsgol LBA, 0.582; Gonur1 BA 0.178
- Bunker 2002, p. 29.
- "Metropolitan Museum of Art". www.metmuseum.org.
- Jin Kim, Hyun (November 2015). The Huns. Taylor & Francis. pp. 6–17. ISBN 978-1317340904.
- Di Cosmo 2004, p. 164.
- Vovin, Alexander. "Did the Xiongnu speak a Yeniseian language? Part 2: Vocabulary". Academia.
- THE PEOPLES OF THE STEPPE FRONTIER IN EARLY CHINESE SOURCES, Edwin G. Pulleyblank, page 49.[full citation needed]
- Vovin, Alexander (2007). "ONCE AGAIN ON THE ETYMOLOGY OF THE TITLE qaγan". Studia Etymologica Cracoviensia. Kraków. 12. Retrieved 2022-04-06.
- Xumeng, Sun (14 September 2020). Identifying the Huns and the Xiongnu (or Not): Multi-Faceted Implications and Difficulties (PDF). PRISM: University of Calgary's Digital Repository (Thesis).
- Wink 2002, pp. 60–61.
- Craig Benjamin (2007, 49), In: Hyun Jin Kim, The Huns, Rome and the Birth of Europe. Cambridge University Press. 2013. page 176.
- Linghu Defen et al., Zhoushu, vol. 50 quote: "突厥者，蓋匈奴之別種，姓阿史那氏。"
- Beishi "vol. 99 - section Tujue" quote: "突厥者，其先居西海之右，獨為部落，蓋匈奴之別種也。" translation: "The Tujue, their ancestors dwelt on the right bank of the Western Sea; a lone tribe, probably a separate branch of the Xiongnu"
- Golden, Peter B. (August 2018). "The Ethnogonic Tales of the Türks". The Medieval History Journal, 21 (2): p. 298 of 291-327, fn. 36. quote: "‘Western Sea’ (xi hai 西海) has many possible meanings designating different bodies of water from the Mediterranean, Caspian and Aral Seas to Kuku-nor. In the Sui era (581–618) it was viewed as being near Byzantium (Sinor, ‘Legendary Origin’: 226). Taşağıl, Gök-Türkler, vol. 1: 95, n. 553 identies it with Etsin-Gol, which is more likely."
- Du You, Tongdian vol. 197 quote: "突厥之先，平涼今平涼郡雜胡也，蓋匈奴之別種，姓阿史那氏。"
- Xin Tangshu, vol. 215A. "突厥阿史那氏, 蓋古匈奴北部也." "The Ashina family of the Turk probably were the northern tribes of the ancient Xiongnu." quoted and translated in Xu (2005), Historical Development of the Pre-Dynastic Khitan, University of Helsinki, 2005
- Wei Zheng et al., Suishu, vol. 84 quote: "突厥之先，平涼雜胡也，姓阿史那氏。"
- Zhoushu, "vol. 50" "或云突厥之先出於索國，在匈奴之北。"
- Beishi "vol. 99 - section Tujue" quote: "又曰突厥之先，出於索國，在匈奴之北。"
- Golden 1992, p. 155.
- Wei Shou et al., Book of Wei vol. 103 - section Gaoche quote: "高車，蓋古赤狄之餘種也，初號為狄歷，北方以為勑勒，諸夏以為高車、丁零。其語略與匈奴同而時有小異，或云其先匈奴之甥也。其種有狄氏、袁紇氏、斛律氏、解批氏、護骨氏、異奇斤氏。" translation: "The Gaoche are probably remnants of the ancient Red Di. Initially they had been called Dili. Northerners consider them Chile. The various Xia (aka Chinese) consider them Gaoche Dingling (High-Cart Dingling). Their language, in brief, and Xiongnu [language] are the same yet occasionally there are small differences. Some say that they [Gaoche] are the sororal newphews/sons-in-laws of the Xiongnu of yore. Their tribes (種) are Di, Yuanhe (aka Uyghurs), Hulu, Jiepi, Hugu, Yiqijin."
- Xin Tangshu vol 217A - Huihu quote: "回紇，其先匈奴也，俗多乘高輪車，元魏時亦號高車部，或曰敕勒，訛為鐵勒。" translation: "Huihe, their ancestors were the Xiongnu; because they customarily drove carts with high-wheels and many spokes, in Yuan Wei's they were also called Gaoche (High-Cart), or also called Chile, mistakenly rendered as Tiele."
- Weishu, "vol. 102 Wusun, Shule, & Yueban" quote: "悅般國，…… 其先，匈奴北單于之部落也。…… 其風俗言語與高車同"
- Jinshu vol. 97 Four Barbarians - Xiongnu"
- Yuanhe Maps and Records of Prefectures and Counties vol. 4 quote: "北人呼駮馬為賀蘭"
- Du You. Tongdian. Vol. 200. "突厥謂駮馬為曷剌，亦名曷剌國。"
- Lee, Joo-Yup (2016). "The Historical Meaning of the Term Turk and the Nature of the Turkic Identity of the Chinggisid and Timurid Elites in Post-Mongol Central Asia". Central Asiatic Journal. 59 (1–2): 105.
- Ts. Baasansuren "The scholar who showed the true Mongolia to the world", Summer 2010 vol.6 (14) Mongolica, pp.40
- Sinor, Denis (1990). Aspects of Altaic Civilization III. p. [page needed].
- N.Bichurin "Collection of information on the peoples who inhabited Central Asia in ancient times", 1950, p. 227
- Pulleyblank, Edwin G. (2000). "Ji 姬 and Jiang 姜: The Role of Exogamic Clans in the Organization of the Zhou Polity", Early China. p. 20
- Wei Shou. Book of Wei. vol. 91 "蠕蠕，東胡之苗裔也，姓郁久閭氏" tr. "Rúrú, offsprings of Dōnghú, surnamed Yùjiŭlǘ"
- Liangshu Vol. 54 txt: "芮芮國，蓋匈奴別種。" tr: "Ruìruì state, possibly a Xiongnu's separate branch"
- Golden, Peter B. "Some Notes on the Avars and Rouran", in The Steppe Lands and the World beyond Them. Ed. Curta, Maleon. Iași (2013). pp. 54-55
- Liu Xu et al. Old Book of Tang "vol. 199 section: Shiwei"
- Xu Elina-Qian (2005). Historical Development of the Pre-Dynastic Khitan. University of Helsinki. p. 173-178
- Xu Elina-Qian (2005). Historical Development of the Pre-Dynastic Khitan. University of Helsinki. p. 99. quote: "According to Gai Zhiyong's study, Jishou is identical with Qishou, the earliest ancestor of the Khitan; and Shihuai is identical to Tanshihuai, the Xianbei supreme chief in the period of the Eastern Han (25-220). Therefore, from the sentence "His ancestor was Jish[ou] who was derived from Shihuai" in the above inscription, it can be simply seen that the Khitan originated from the Xianbei. Since the excavated inscription on memorial tablet can be regarded as a firsthand historical source, this piece of information is quite reliable."
- Xue Juzheng et al. Old History of the Five Dynasties vol. 137 quote: "契丹者，古匈奴之種也。" translation: "The Khitans, a kind of Xiongnu of yore."
- Schönig, Claus. (27 January 2006) "Turko-Mongolic relations" in Janhunen (ed.) The Mongolic Languages. Routledge. p. 393.
- Shimunek, Andrew. "Early Serbi-Mongolic-Tungusic lexical contact: Jurchen numerals from the 室韦 Shirwi (Shih-wei) in North China". Philology of the Grasslands: Essays in Mongolic, Turkic, and Tungusic Studies, Edited by Ákos Bertalan Apatóczky et al. (Leiden: Brill). Retrieved 22 September 2019. quote: "Asdemonstrated by Ratchnevsky (1966: 231), the Shirwi confederation was a multiethnic, multilingual confederation of Tungusic-speaking Mo-ho 靺鞨 people (i.e. ancestors of the Jurchen), the Meng-wa 蒙瓦 ~ Meng-wu 蒙兀, whom Pelliot (1928) and others have shown were Proto-Mongolic speakers, and other groups. The dominant group among the Shirwi undoubtedly were ethnolinguistic descendants of the Serbi (鮮卑 Hsien-pei), and spoke a language closely related to Kitan and more distantly related to Mongolic."
- Shiji "vol. 110: Account of the Xiongnu" quote: "東胡初輕冒頓，不爲備。及冒頓以兵至，擊，大破滅東胡王，而虜其民人及畜產。" translation: "Initially the Donghu despised Modun and were unprepared. So Modun arrived with his troops, attacked, routed [the Donghu] and killed Donghu king; then [Modun] captured his people as well as livestock."
- Book of Later Han. "Vol. 90 section Xianbei". text: "鮮卑者, 亦東胡之支也, 别依鮮卑山, 故因為號焉. 漢初, 亦為冒頓所破, 遠竄遼東塞." Xu (2005:24)'s translation: "The Xianbei who were a branch of the Donghu, relied upon the Xianbei Mountains. Therefore, they were called the Xianbei. At the beginning of the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 220), (they) were defeated by Maodun, and then fled in disorder to Liaodong beyond the northern border of China Proper"
- Xu Elina-Qian (2005). Historical Development of the Pre-Dynastic Khitan. University of Helsinki. p. 24-25
- Howorth, Henry H. (Henry Hoyle). History of the Mongols from the 9th to the 19th century. London : Longmans, Green – via Internet Archive.
- "Sun and Moon" (JPG). depts.washington.edu.
- "Xiongnu Archaeology". depts.washington.edu.
- Elite Xiongnu Burials at the Periphery (Miller et al. 2009)
- "Belt Buckle LACMA Collections". collections.lacma.org.
- Bunker 2002, p. 30, item 81.
- Bunker 2002, p. 111, item 81.
- Prior, Daniel (2016). "FASTENING THE BUCKLE: A STRAND OF XIONGNU-ERA NARRATIVE IN A RECENT KIRGHIZ EPIC POEM" (PDF). The Silk Road. 14: 191.
- Di Cosmo 2004, p. 165.
- Hyun Jin Kim, The Huns, Rome and the Birth of Europe. ISBN 978-1-107-00906-6. Cambridge University Press. 2013. page 31.
- Linghu Defen et al., Book of Zhou, Vol. 50. (in Chinese)
- Li Yanshou (李延寿), History of the Northern Dynasties, Vol. 99. (in Chinese)
- Christian 1998, p. 249.
- Wei Zheng et al., Book of Sui, Vol. 84. (in Chinese)
- Du, You (1988). 辺防13 北狄4 突厥上. 《通典》 [Tongdian] (in Simplified Chinese). Vol. 197. Beijing: Zhonghua Book Company. p. 5401. ISBN 978-7-101-00258-4.
- "Об эт нической принадлежности Хунну". rudocs.exdat.com.
- Jenkins, Romilly James Heald (1967). De Administrando Imperio by Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus. Corpus fontium historiae Byzantinae (New, revised ed.). Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-88402-021-9. Retrieved 2013-08-28. According to Constantine Porphyrogenitus, writing in his De Administrando Imperio (ca. 950 AD) "Patzinakia, the Pecheneg realm, stretches west as far as the Siret River (or even the Eastern Carpathian Mountains), and is four days distant from Tourkia (i.e. Hungary)."
- Günter Prinzing; Maciej Salamon (1999). Byzanz und Ostmitteleuropa 950–1453: Beiträge zu einer table-ronde des XIX. International Congress of Byzantine Studies, Copenhagen 1996. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 46. ISBN 978-3-447-04146-1. Retrieved 2013-02-09.
- Henry Hoyle Howorth (2008). History of the Mongols from the 9th to the 19th Century: The So-called Tartars of Russia and Central Asia. Cosimo, Inc. p. 3. ISBN 978-1-60520-134-4. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
- Sinor (1990)
- Nabijan Tursun. "The Formation of Modern Uyghur Historiography and Competing Perspectives toward Uyghur History". The China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly. 6 (3): 87–100.
- James A. Millward & Peter C. Perdue (2004). "Chapter 2: Political and Cultural History of the Xinjiang Region through the Late Nineteenth Century". In S. Frederick Starr (ed.). Xinjiang: China's Muslim Borderland. M. E. Sharpe. pp. 40–41. ISBN 978-0-7656-1318-9.
- Susan J. Henders (2006). Susan J. Henders (ed.). Democratization and Identity: Regimes and Ethnicity in East and Southeast Asia. Lexington Books. p. 135. ISBN 978-0-7391-0767-6. Retrieved 2011-09-09.
- Reed, J. Todd; Raschke, Diana (2010). The ETIM: China's Islamic Militants and the Global Terrorist Threat. ABC-CLIO. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-313-36540-9.
- Cho Gab-je (5 March 2004). 騎馬흉노국가 新羅 연구 趙甲濟(月刊朝鮮 편집장)의 심층취재 내 몸속을 흐르는 흉노의 피 (in Korean). Monthly Chosun. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
- 김운회 (30 August 2005). 김운회의 '대쥬신을 찾아서' <23> 금관의 나라, 신라" (in Korean). 프레시안. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
- 경주 사천왕사(寺) 사천왕상(四天王像) 왜 4개가 아니라 3개일까 (in Korean). 조선일보. 27 February 2009. Archived from the original on 2014-12-30. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
- 김창호, 〈문무왕릉비에 보이는 신라인의 조상인식 – 태조성한의 첨보 -〉, 《한국사연구》, 한국사연구회, 1986년
- "자료검색>상세_기사 | 국립중앙도서관". www.nl.go.kr. Archived from the original on 2018-10-02. Retrieved 2019-04-15.
- Honeychurch, William. "Thinking Political Communities: The State and Social Stratification among Ancient Nomads of Mongolia". The Anthropological Study of Class and Consciousness: 47.
- Maenchen-Helfen 1973, pp. 370–371.
- Lebedynsky, Yaroslav (2007). Les nomades. Éditions Errance. p. 125. ISBN 9782877723466. "Europoid faces in some depictions of the Ordos, which should be attributed to a Scythian affinity"
- Camilla Trever, "Excavations in Northern Mongolia (1924–1925)", Leningrad: J. Fedorov Printing House, 1932 
- The Great Empires of the Ancient World – Thomas Harrison – 2009 – page 288
- Fu ren da xue (Beijing, China), S.V.D. Research Institute, Society of the Divine Word – 2003 
- A. V. Davydova, Ivolginskii arkheologicheskii kompleks II. Ivolginskii mogil'nik. Arkheologicheskie pamiatniki Siunnu 2 (Sankt-Peterburg 1996). А. В. Давыдова, Иволгинский археологи-ческий комплекс II. Иволгинский могильник. Археологические памятники Сюнну 2 (Санкт-Петербург 1996).
- S. S. Miniaev, Dyrestuiskii mogil'nik. Arkheologicheskie pamiatniki Siunnu 3 (Sankt-Peterburg 1998). С. С. Миняев, Дырестуйский могильник. Археологические памятники Сюнну 3 (Санкт-Петербург 1998).
- Ts. Törbat, Keramika khunnskogo mogil'nika Burkhan-Tolgoi. Erdem shinzhilgeenii bichig. Arkheologi, antropologi, ugsaatan sudlal 19,2003, 82–100. Ц. Тѳрбат, Керамика хуннского могильника Бурхан-Толгой. Эрдэм шинжилгээний бичиг. Археологи, антропологи, угсаатан судлал 19, 2003, 82–100.
- Ts. Törbat, Tamiryn Ulaan khoshuuny bulsh ba Khünnügiin ugsaatny büreldekhüünii asuudald. Tükhiin setgüül 4, 2003, 6–17. Ц. Төрбат, Тамирын Улаан хошууны булш ба Хүннүгийн угсаатны бүрэлдэхүүний асуудалд. Түүхийн сэтгүүл 4, 2003, 6–17.
- Ningxia Cultural Relics and Archaeology Research Institute (寧夏文物考古研究所); Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Archaeology Institute Ningxia Archaeology Group; Tongxin County Cultural Relics Administration (同心縣文物管理所) (1988). 寧夏同心倒墩子匈奴墓地. 考古學報 [Archaeology Journal] (3): 333–356.
- Miller, Bryan (2011). Jan Bemmann (ed.). Xiongnu Archaeology. Bonn: Vor- und Fruhgeschichtliche Archaeologie Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universitat Bonn. ISBN 978-3-936490-14-5. Archived from the original on 2013-07-29. Retrieved 2012-12-13.
- Lai, Guolong. "The Date of the TLV Mirrors from the Xiongnu Tombs" (PDF). The Silk Road. 4 (1): 34–43.
- Miller, Bryan (2011). Jan Bemmann (ed.). Xiongnu Archaeology. Bonn: Vor- und Fruhgeschichtliche Archaologie Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universitat Bonn. p. 23. ISBN 978-3-936490-14-5. Archived from the original on 2013-07-29. Retrieved 2012-12-13.
- Miller, Bryan (2011). Jan Bemmann (ed.). Xiongnu Archaeology. Bonn: Vor- und Fruhgeschichtliche Archaologie Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universitat Bonn. p. 24. ISBN 978-3-936490-14-5. Archived from the original on 2013-07-29. Retrieved 2012-12-13.
- Jeong, Choongwon; Wang, Ke; Wilkin, Shevan; Taylor, William Timothy Treal; Miller, Bryan K.; Bemmann, Jan H.; Stahl, Raphaela; Chiovelli, Chelsea; Knolle, Florian; Ulziibayar, Sodnom; Khatanbaatar, Dorjpurev (12 November 2020). "A Dynamic 6,000-Year Genetic History of Eurasia's Eastern Steppe". Cell. 183 (4): 890–904.e29. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2020.10.015. ISSN 0092-8674. PMC 7664836. PMID 33157037. Text was copied from this source, which is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
- Lee, Joo-Yup; Kuang, Shuntu (2017). "A Comparative Analysis of Chinese Historical Sources and Y-DNA Studies with Regard to the Early and Medieval Turkic Peoples". Inner Asia. 19 (2): 197–239. doi:10.1163/22105018-12340089. ISSN 1464-8172. S2CID 165623743. "Analysis of the mitochondrial DNA, which is maternally inherited, shows that the Xiongnu remains from this Egyin Gol necropolis consist mainly of Asian lineages (89%). West Eurasian lineages makeup the rest (11%) (Keyser-Tracqui et al. (2003: 258). However, according to a more recent study of ancient human remains from central Mongolia, the Xiongnu population in cen- tral Mongolia possessed a higher frequency of western mitochondrial DNA haplotypes (37.5%) than the Xiongnu from the Egyin Gol necropolis (Rogers 2016: 78)."
- Rogers, Leland Liu; Kaestle, Frederika Ann (2022). "Analysis of mitochondrial DNA haplogroup frequencies in the population of the slab burial mortuary culture of Mongolia (ca. 1100–300 BCE )". American Journal of Biological Anthropology. 177 (4): 644–657. doi:10.1002/ajpa.24478. ISSN 2692-7691. S2CID 246508594. " The first pattern is that the slab burial mtDNA frequencies are extremely similar to those of the aggregated Xiongnu populations and relatively similar to those of the various Bronze Age Mongolian populations, strongly supporting a population continuity hypothesis for the region over these time periods (Honeychurch, 2013)"
- Damgaard et al. 2018, Supplementary Table 8, Rows 87-88, 94-96.
- Kim et al. 2010, p. 429
- Rogers & Kaestle 2022:"While during the slab burial period (ca.1100–300 BCE) eastern patrilines seem to have been dominant, in the Xiongnu period about half of the population had western patrilines with virtually no change to the mtDNA gene pool in east–west terms. If sex bias migration patterns were similar with those found in Europe, this increase of western patrilines would be consistent with aggressive expansion of people with western male ancestry (Batini et al., 2017); however, such a pattern could also be due to a gradual nonaggressive assimilation, such as the practice of marriage alliances associated with an expansion of trade or cultural networks that favored people with western patrilines (Honeychurch, 2013)."
- L. L. Kang et al. (2013) Y chromosomes of ancient Hunnu people and its implication on the phylogeny of East Asian linguistic families.[full citation needed]
- Knowing the Xiongnu Culture in Eastern Tianshan Mountain from Tomb Heigouliang and Dongheigou Site at the Beginning of Xihan Dynasty, RenMeng, WangJianXin, 2008.[full citation needed]
- Kim et al. 2010, p. 429
- Damgaard et al. 2018, Supplementary Table 9, Rows 20-23.
- Keyser, C.; Zvénigorosky, V.; et al. (2020). "Genetic evidence suggests a sense of family, parity and conquest in the Xiongnu Iron Age nomads of Mongolia". Human Genetics. 140 (2): 349–359. doi:10.1007/s00439-020-02209-4. PMID 32734383. S2CID 220881540.
- Keyser-Tracqui et al. 2006, p. 272.
- Damgaard et al. 2018, Supplementary Table 2, Rows 28-32.
- Damgaard et al. 2018, pp. 371–374: "Principal Component Analyses and D-statistics suggest that the Xiongnu individuals belong to two distinct groups, one being of East Asian origin and the other presenting considerable admixture levels with West Eurasian sources... We find that Central Sakas are accepted as a source for these ‘western-admixed’ Xiongnu in a single-wave model. In line with this finding, no East Asian gene flow is detected compared to Central Sakas as these form a clade with respect to the East Asian Xiongnu in a D-statistic, and furthermore, cluster closely together in the PCA (Figure 2)... Overall, our data show that the Xiongnu confederation was genetically heterogeneous, and that the Huns emerged following minor male-driven East Asian gene flow into the preceding Sakas that they invaded... As such our results support the contention that the disappearance of the Inner Asian Scythians and Sakas around two thousand years ago was a cultural transition that coincided with the westward migration of the Xiongnu. This Xiongnu invasion also led to the displacement of isolated remnant groups—related to Late Bronze Age pastoralists—that had remained on the south-eastern side of the Tian Shan mountains."
- Maróti, Zoltán; Neparáczki, Endre; Schütz, Oszkár (25 May 2022). "The genetic origin of Huns, Avars, and conquering Hungarians". Current Biology. 32 (13): 2858–2870.e7. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2022.04.093. PMID 35617951. S2CID 249050620.
- "Metropolitan Museum of Art". www.metmuseum.org.
- Bunker 2002, p. 136.
- Bunker 2002, p. 30.
- Bunker 2002, p. 29, 101 item 68.
- Bunker 2002, p. 100, item 67.
- Psarras 2003, p. [page needed].
- Psarras 2003, pp. 102–103.
- Ishjamts 1996, p. 166, Fig 5.
- Demattè 2006.
- Ishjamts 1996, p. 166, Fig 6.
- Book of Han, Vol. 94-I, 匈奴謂天為「撐犁」，謂子為「孤塗」，單于者，廣大之貌也.
- Primary sources
- Ban Gu et al., Book of Han, esp. vol. 94, part 1, part 2.
- Fan Ye et al., Book of the Later Han, esp. vol. 89.
- Sima Qian et al., Records of the Grand Historian, esp. vol. 110.
- Other sources consulted
- Adas, Michael (2001). Agricultural and Pastoral Societies in Ancient and Classical History. American Historical Association/Temple University Press.
- Bailey, Harold W. (1985). Indo-Scythian Studies: being Khotanese Texts, VII. Cambridge University Press. JSTOR 312539. Retrieved 2015-05-30.
- Barfield, Thomas J. (1989). The Perilous Frontier: Nomadic Empires and China, 221 BC to AD 1757. Basil Blackwell.
- Beckwith, Christopher I. (16 March 2009). Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-13589-2. Retrieved 2015-05-30.
- Bentley, Jerry (1993). Old World Encounters: Cross-Cultural Contacts and Exchanges in Pre-Modern Times. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Bunker, Emma C. (2002). Nomadic Art of the Eastern Eurasian Steppes: The Eugene V. Thaw and Other Notable New York Collections. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art. ISBN 9780300096880. OCLC 819761397 – via Internet Archive. ("Via Metropolitan Museum of Art Libraries". Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2021-12-27.)
- Christian, David (1998). A history of Russia, Central Asia and Mongolia, Vol. 1: Inner Eurasia from prehistory to the Mongol Empire. Blackwell.
- Damgaard, P. B.; et al. (9 May 2018). "137 ancient human genomes from across the Eurasian steppes". Nature. Nature Research. 557 (7705): 369–373. Bibcode:2018Natur.557..369D. doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0094-2. hdl:1887/3202709. PMID 29743675. S2CID 13670282. Retrieved 2020-04-11.
- Demattè, Paola (2006). "Writing the Landscape: Petroglyphs of Inner Mongolia and Ningxia Province (China)". In David L. Peterson; et al. (eds.). Beyond the steppe and the sown: proceedings of the 2002 University of Chicago Conference on Eurasian Archaeology. Colloquia Pontica: series on the archaeology and ancient history of the Black Sea area. Vol. 13. Brill. pp. 300–313. (Proceedings of the First International Conference of Eurasian Archaeology, University of Chicago, May 3–4, 2002.)
- Di Cosmo, Nicola (1999). "The Northern Frontier in Pre-Imperial China". In Michael Loewe and Edward Shaughnessy (eds.). The Cambridge History of Ancient China. Cambridge University Press.
- Di Cosmo, Nicola (2002). Ancient China and its Enemies: The Rise of Nomadic Power in East Asian History. Cambridge University Press. (original edition)
- Di Cosmo, Nicola (2004). Ancient China and its Enemies: The Rise of Nomadic Power in East Asian History. Cambridge University Press. (First paperback edition)
- Fairbank, J.K.; Têng, S.Y. (1941). "On the Ch'ing Tributary System". Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies. 6 (2): 135–246. doi:10.2307/2718006. JSTOR 2718006.
- Geng, Shimin [耿世民] (2005). 阿尔泰共同语、匈奴语探讨 [On Altaic Common Language and Xiongnu Language]. Yu Yan Yu Fan Yi 语言与翻译（汉文版） [Language and Translation] (2). ISSN 1001-0823. OCLC 123501525. Archived from the original on 2012-02-25.
- Golden, Peter B. (1992). "Chapter VI – The Uyğur Qağante (742–840)". An Introduction to the History of the Turkic Peoples: Ethnogenesis and State-Formation in Medieval and Early Modern Eurasia and the Middle East. ISBN 978-3-447-03274-2.
- Grousset, Rene (1970). The Empire of the Steppes. Rutgers University Press. ISBN 978-0-8135-1304-1.
- Hall, Mark & Minyaev, Sergey. Chemical Analyses of Xiong-nu Pottery: A Preliminary Study of Exchange and Trade on the Inner Asian Steppes. In: Journal of Archaeological Science (2002) 29, pp. 135–144
- Harmatta, János (1 January 1994). "Conclusion". In Harmatta, János (ed.). History of Civilizations of Central Asia: The Development of Sedentary and Nomadic Civilizations, 700 B. C. to A. D. 250. UNESCO. pp. 485–492. ISBN 978-9231028465. Retrieved 2015-05-29.
- Harmatta, János (1992). "The Emergence of the Indo-Iranians: The Indo-Iranian Languages". In Dani, A. H.; Masson, V. M. (eds.). History of Civilizations of Central Asia: The Dawn of Civilization: Earliest Times to 700 B. C. (PDF). UNESCO. pp. 346–370. ISBN 978-92-3-102719-2. Retrieved 2015-05-29.
- Henning, W. B. (1948). "The date of the Sogdian ancient letters". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. 12 (3–4): 601–615. doi:10.1017/S0041977X00083178. JSTOR 608717. S2CID 161867825.
- Hucker, Charles O. (1975). China's Imperial Past: An Introduction to Chinese History and Culture. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-2353-2.
The proto-Turkic Hsiung-nu were now challenged by other alien groups — proto-Tibetans, proto-Mongol tribes called the Hsien-pi, and separate proto-Turks called To-pa (Toba).
- Ishjamts, N. (1996). "Nomads In Eastern Central Asia". In Janos Harmatta; et al. (eds.). History of civilizations of Central Asia. Volume 2: The Development of Sedentary and Nomadic Civilizations, 700 bc to ad 250. UNESCO. pp. 151–170. ISBN 92-3-102846-4. OCLC 928730707.
- Jankowski, Henryk [in Polish] (2006). Historical-Etymological Dictionary of Pre-Russian Habitation Names of the Crimea. Handbuch der Orientalistik [HdO], 8: Central Asia; 15. Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-15433-9.
- Keyser-Tracqui, Christine; et al. (July 2003). "Nuclear and Mitochondrial DNA Analysis of a 2,000-Year-Old Necropolis in the Egyin Gol Valley of Mongolia". American Journal of Human Genetics. Cell Press. 73 (2): 247–260. doi:10.1086/377005. PMC 1180365. PMID 12858290.
- Keyser-Tracqui, Christine; et al. (October 2006). "Population origins in Mongolia: genetic structure analysis of ancient and modern DNA". American Journal of Physical Anthropology. American Association of Physical Anthropologists. 131 (2): 272–281. doi:10.1002/ajpa.20429. PMID 16596591.
- Kim, Kijeong; et al. (July 2010). "A western Eurasian male is found in 2000-year-old elite Xiongnu cemetery in Northeast Mongolia". American Journal of Physical Anthropology. American Association of Physical Anthropologists. 142 (3): 429–440. doi:10.1002/ajpa.21242. PMID 20091844.
- Loewe, Michael (1974). "The campaigns of Han Wu-ti". In Kierman, Frank A. Jr.; Fairbank, John K. (eds.). Chinese ways in warfare. Harvard Univ. Press.
- Maenchen-Helfen, Otto (1973). The World of the Huns: Studies in Their History and Culture (1st ed.). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-01596-8. Retrieved 2015-02-18. Internet Archive
- Mallory, J. P.; Mair, Victor H. (2000), The Tarim Mummies: Ancient China and the Mystery of the Earliest Peoples from the West, London: Thames & Hudson.
- Neparáczki, Endre; et al. (12 November 2019). "Y-chromosome haplogroups from Hun, Avar and conquering Hungarian period nomadic people of the Carpathian Basin". Scientific Reports. Nature Research. 9 (16569): 16569. Bibcode:2019NatSR...916569N. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-53105-5. PMC 6851379. PMID 31719606.
- Pritsak, O. (1959). "XUN Der Volksname der Hsiung-nu". Central Asiatic Journal (in German). 5: 27–34.
- Psarras, Sophia-Karin (2003). "Han and Xiongnu: A Reexamination of Cultural and Political Relations". Monumenta Serica. 51: 55–236. doi:10.1080/02549948.2003.11731391. JSTOR 40727370. S2CID 156676644.
- Pulleyblank, Edwin G. (1994). "Ji Hu: Indigenous Inhabitants of Shaanbei and Western Shanxi". Opuscula Altaica: Essays Presented in Honor of Henry Schwarz. 19: 499–531.
- Pulleyblank, Edwin G. (2000). "Ji 姬 and Jiang 姜: The Role of Exogamic Clans in the Organization of the Zhou Polity" (PDF). Early China. 25 (25): 1–27. doi:10.1017/S0362502800004259. S2CID 162159081. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-11-18. Retrieved 2017-12-01.
- Schuessler, Axel (2014). "Phonological Notes on Hàn Period Transcriptions of Foreign Names and Words" (PDF). Studies in Chinese and Sino-Tibetan Linguistics: Dialect, Phonology, Transcription and Text. Language and Linguistics Monograph Series. Taipei, Taiwan: Institute of Linguistics, Academia Sinica (53).
- Sims-Williams, Nicholas (2004). "The Sogdian ancient letters. Letters 1, 2, 3, and 5 translated into English".
- State Hermitage Museum (2007). "Prehistoric Art - Early Nomads of the Altaic Region". The Hermitage Museum. Archived from the original on 2007-06-22. Retrieved 2007-07-31.
- Whitehouse, Ruth, ed. (2016). Macmillan Dictionary of Archaeology. Macmillan Education. ISBN 978-1349075898.
- Wink, A. (2002). Al-Hind: making of the Indo-Islamic World. Brill. ISBN 0-391-04174-6.
- Yap, Joseph P. (2009). Wars with the Xiongnu: A translation from Zizhi tongjian. ISBN 978-1-4490-0604-4. AuthorHouse.
- Davydova, Anthonina. The Ivolga archaeological complex. Part 1. The Ivolga fortress. In: Archaeological sites of the Xiongnu, vol. 1. St Petersburg, 1995.
- Davydova, Anthonina. The Ivolga archaeological complex. Part 2. The Ivolga cemetery. In: Archaeological sites of the Xiongnu, vol. 2. St Petersburg, 1996.
- (in Russian) Davydova, Anthonina & Minyaev Sergey. The complex of archaeological sites near Dureny village. In: Archaeological sites of the Xiongnu, vol. 5. St Petersburg, 2003.
- Davydova, Anthonina & Minyaev Sergey. The Xiongnu Decorative bronzes. In: Archaeological sites of the Xiongnu, vol. 6. St Petersburg, 2003.
- (in Hungarian) Helimski, Eugen. "A szamojéd népek vázlatos története" (Short History of the Samoyedic peoples). In: The History of the Finno-Ugric and Samoyedic Peoples. 2000, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary.
- (in Russian) Kiuner (Kjuner, Küner) [Кюнер], N.V. 1961. Китайские известия о народах Южной Сибири, Центральной Азии и Дальнего Востока (Chinese reports about peoples of Southern Siberia, Central Asia, and Far East). Moscow.
- (in Russian) Klyashtorny S.G. [Кляшторный С.Г.] 1964. Древнетюркские рунические памятники как источник по истории Средней Азии. (Ancient Türkic runiform monuments as a source for the history of Central Asia). Moscow: Nauka.
- (in Russian) Kradin , Nikolay. 2002. "Hun Empire". Acad. 2nd ed., updated and added., Moscow: Logos, ISBN 5-94010-124-0
- Kradin, Nikolay. 2005. Social and Economic Structure of the Xiongnu of the Trans-Baikal Region. Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia, No 1 (21), p. 79–86.
- Kradin, Nikolay. 2012. New Approaches and Challenges for the Xiongnu Studies. In: Xiongnu and its eastward Neighbours. Seoul, p. 35–51.
- (in German) Liu Mau-tsai. 1958. Die chinesischen Nachrichten zur Geschichte der Ost-Türken (T'u-küe). Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz.
- Minyaev, Sergey. On the origin of the Xiongnu // Bulletin of International association for the study of the culture of Central Asia, UNESCO. Moscow, 1985, No. 9.
- Minyaev, Sergey. News of Xiongnu Archaeology // Das Altertum, vol. 35. Berlin, 1989.
- Minyaev, Sergey. "Niche Grave Burials of the Xiong-nu Period in Central Asia", Information Bulletin, Inter-national Association for the Cultures of Central Asia 17 (1990): 91–99.
- Minyaev, Sergey. The excavation of Xiongnu Sites in the Buryatia Republic// Orientations, vol. 26, n. 10, Hong Kong, November 1995.
- Minyaev, Sergey. Les Xiongnu// Dossiers d' archaeologie, # 212. Paris 1996.
- Minyaev, Sergey. Archaeologie des Xiongnu en Russie: nouvelles decouvertes et quelques Problemes. In: Arts Asiatiques, tome 51, Paris, 1996.
- (in Russian) Minyaev, Sergey. Derestuj cemetery. In: Archaeological sites of the Xiongnu, vol. 3. St-Petersburg, 1998.
- Minyaev, Sergey. The origins of the "Geometric Style" in Hsiungnu art // BAR International series 890. London, 2000.
- Minyaev, Sergey. Art and archeology of the Xiongnu: new discoveries in Russia. In: Circle of Iner Asia Art, Newsletter, Issue 14, December 2001, pp. 3–9
- (in Russian) Minyaev, Sergey. The Xiongnu cultural complex: location and chronology. In: Ancient and Middle Age History of Eastern Asia. Vladivostok, 2001, pp. 295–305.
- Miniaev, Sergey & Elikhina, Julia. On the chronology of the Noyon Uul barrows. The Silk Road 7 (2009): 21–30.
- Minyaev, Sergey & Sakharovskaja, Lidya. Investigation of a Xiongnu Royal Tomb in the Tsaraam valley, part 1. In: Newsletters of the Silk Road Foundation, vol. 4, no.1, 2006.
- Minyaev, Sergey & Sakharovskaja, Lidya. Investigation of a Xiongnu Royal Tomb in the Tsaraam valley, part 2. In: Newsletters of the Silk Road Foundation, vol. 5, no.1, 2007.
- Minyaev, Sergey & Smolarsky Phillipe. Art of the Steppes. Brussels, Foundation Richard Liu, 2002.
- (in Hungarian) Obrusánszky, Borbála. August 2009. Tongwancheng, city of the southern Huns. Transoxiana, August 2009, 14. ISSN 1666-7050.
- (in French) Petkovski, Elizabet. 2006. Polymorphismes ponctuels de séquence et identification génétique: étude par spectrométrie de masse MALDI-TOF. Strasbourg: Université Louis Pasteur. Dissertation
- (in Russian) Potapov, L.P. 1969. Этнический состав и происхождение алтайцев (Etnicheskii sostav i proiskhozhdenie altaitsev, Ethnic composition and origins of the Altaians). Leningrad: Nauka. Facsimile in Microsoft Word format.
- (in Russian) Potapov, L.P. [Потапов, Л.П.] 1966. Этнионим Теле и Алтайцы. Тюркологический сборник (The ethnonym "Tele" and the Altaians. Turcologica): 233–240. Moscow: Nauka.
- (in Russian) Talko-Gryntsevich, Julian. 1999. Paleo-Ethnology of Trans-Baikal area. In: Archaeological sites of the Xiongnu, vol. 4. St Petersburg.
- Taskin V.S. [Таскин В.С.]. 1984. Материалы по истории древних кочевых народов группы Дунху (Materials on the history of the ancient nomadic peoples of the Dunhu group). Moscow.
- Brosseder, Ursula, and Bryan Miller. Xiongnu Archaeology: Multidisciplinary Perspectives of the First Steppe Empire in Inner Asia. Bonn: Freiburger Graphische Betriebe- Freiburg, 2011.
- Csányi, B.; et al. (July 2008). "Y-Chromosome Analysis of Ancient Hungarian and Two Modern Hungarian-Speaking Populations from the Carpathian Basin". Annals of Human Genetics. 72 (4): 519–534. doi:10.1111/j.1469-1809.2008.00440.x. PMID 18373723. S2CID 13217908. Retrieved 2022-04-06.
- Hill, John E. (2009) Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty, 1st to 2nd Centuries CE. BookSurge, Charleston, South Carolina. ISBN 978-1-4392-2134-1. (Especially pp. 69–74)
- Houle, J. and L.G. Broderick (2011) "Settlement Patterns and Domestic Economy of the Xiongnu in Khanui Valley, Mongolia", 137–152. In Xiongnu Archaeology: Multidisciplinary Perspectives of the First Steppe Empire in Inner Asia.
- Miller, Bryan K. (2014). "Xiongnu "Kings" and the Political Order of the Steppe Empire". Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient. 57 (1): 1–43. doi:10.1163/15685209-12341340.
- Toh, Hoong Teik (2005). "The -yu Ending in Xiongnu, Xianbei, and Gaoju Onomastica" (PDF). Sino-Platonic Papers. 146.
- Touchette, Nancy (25 July 2003). "Ancient DNA Tells Tales from the Grave". Genome News Network. Archived from the original on 2006-05-16.
- Vaissière (2005). "Huns et Xiongnu". Central Asiatic Journal (in French). 49 (1): 3–26.
- Yap, Joseph P, (2019). The Western Regions, Xiongnu and Han, from the Shiji, Hanshu and Hou Hanshu. ISBN 978-1792829154
- Zhang, Bibo; Dong, Guoyao (2001). 中国古代北方民族文化史 [Cultural History of Ancient Northern Ethnic Groups in China]. Harbin: Heilongjiang People's Press. ISBN 978-7-207-03325-3.
- Material Culture presented by University of Washington
- Encyclopedic Archive on Xiongnu
- The Xiongnu Empire
- The Silk Road Volume 4 Number 1
- The Silk Road Volume 9
- Gold Headdress from Aluchaideng
- Belt buckle, Xiongnu type, 3rd–2nd century B.C.
- Videodocumentation: Xiongnu – the burial site of the Hun prince (Mongolia)
- The National Museum of Mongolian History :: Xiongnu