(30.1) Introduction to the Wūhuán and Xiānbēi 烏丸鮮卑

The [Shàng]shū records: “The barbarian foreigners harass civilization.” The Shī[jīng] says: “The foreign tribes are extremely aggressive.” For a very long time they have harmed the central states.

書載「蠻夷猾夏」,詩稱「玁狁孔熾」,久矣其為中國患也

Since Qín and Hàn, the Xiōngnú were always at the border bringing harm. Though [Hàn] Xiào-Wǔ [Liú Chè -141-87] managed foreign affairs on all four sides, to the east pacifying the two Yuè and the Cháoxiǎn, to the west suppressing the Èrshī and Dà Yuān and opening the roads to Qióngzhǎ and Yèláng, yet these were all exceedingly distant and far, and could not be a threat to the central states. But the Xiōngnú were the closest to civilization, and the barbarian cavalry need only encroach southward and then the other three sides would also be endangered. Therefore Wèi [Qīng] and Huò [Qùbìng] were repeatedly sent to command far reaching northern campaigns, to relentlessly pursue the Chányú and seize their prosperous and wide lands. After this [the Xiōngnú] were forced to defend and called themselves vassals, and gradually weakened.

秦、漢以來,匈奴久為邊害。孝武雖外事四夷,東平兩越、朝鮮,西討貳師、大宛,開邛苲、夜郎之道,然皆在荒服之外,不能為中國輕重。而匈奴最逼於諸夏,胡騎南侵則三邊受敵,是以屢遣衛、霍之將,深入北伐,窮追單于,奪其饒衍之地。後遂保塞稱藩,世以衰弱。

During Jiàn’ān [196-220], Hūchúqán the Southern Chányú came to Court, and was detained as an Inner Attendant, and the Right Worthy King [lesser Xiōngnú rank subordinate to the Chányú] was sent to manage [the Xiōngnú] state, and so the Xiōngnú became docile, even more than during Hàn of old.

建安中,呼廚泉南單于入朝,遂留內侍,使右賢王撫其國,而匈奴折節,過於漢舊。

However, the Wūhuán and Xiānbēi gradually grew stronger and flourished, and also because of the chaos at the end of Hàn, the central states had many affairs, and had no time to suppress the foreigners, and so [the Wūhuán and Xiānbēi] without authority seized the lands of South of the [Gobi] Desert, plundered and destroyed cities and towns, killed and robbed the people, and all the northern frontier suffered misfortune.

然烏丸、鮮卑稍更彊盛,亦因漢末之亂,中國多事,不遑外討,故得擅(漢)〔漠〕南之地,寇暴城邑,殺略人民,北邊仍受其困。

When Yuán Shào occupied the [Yellow] River’s north, he placated the Wūhuán of three prefectures, gave favor to their famed Kings and so recruited their elite cavalry. After this [Yuán] Shàng and Xī fled to [Wūhuán leader] Tàdùn.

會袁紹兼河北,乃撫有三郡烏丸,寵其名王而收其精騎。其後尚、熙又逃于蹋頓。

Tàdùn was also militarily powerful, and the elders on the border all compared him to Màodùn [who in the past unified the Xiōngnú]. He relied on his distant remoteness, and so dared receive exiles [like Shàng and Xī] and assert authority over all the foreign tribes.

蹋頓又驍武,邊長老皆比之冒頓,恃其阻遠,敢受亡命,以雄百蠻。

Tàizǔ [Cáo Cāo] secretly led a northern campaign, caught them by surprise, and in one battle settled them. The foreign tribes were awed to submission, and his authority shook the northern lands. Thereupon he summoned the armies of the Wūhuán to obey and follow his campaigns, and the people on the frontier enjoyed peace and rest.

太祖潛師北伐,出其不意,一戰而定之,夷狄懾服,威振朔土。遂引烏丸之眾服從征討,而邊民得用安息。

Later the Xiānbēi Chieftain Kē Bǐnéng returned to take control over the various foreign tribes, and seized all the former lands of the Xiōngnú. From Yúnzhōng and Wǔyuán east to the Liáo river was controlled by the Xiānbēi. They repeatedly violated and raided the borders, and Yōu and Bìng [provinces] suffered from this. Tián Yù was besieged at Mǎchéng, and Bì Guǐ was defeated in the north. During Qīnglóng [233-237], the Emperor listened to [the plan of] Wáng Xióng and sent an assassin to kill him. After this, the tribes could not cooperate and broke apart, each attacking the other, the strong escaping far and the weak asking to surrender. Because of this the frontier calmed down, and south of the Desert there were few problems. But though at the time there was not robbery, it could not avoid the development of rebellion.

後鮮卑大人軻比能復制御群狄,盡收匈奴故地,自雲中、五原以東抵遼水,皆為鮮卑庭。數犯塞寇邊,幽、并苦之。田豫有馬城之圍,畢軌有陘北之敗。青龍中,帝乃聽王雄,遣劍客刺之。然後種落離散,互相侵伐,彊者遠遁,弱者請服。由是邊陲差安,(漢)〔漠〕南少事,雖時頗鈔盜,不能復相扇動矣。

The Wūhuán and Xiānbēi in ancient times were called the Dōnghú “Eastern Barbarians.” Their social customs and past events have already been compiled by Hàn historians and recorded. Therefore here will only be concerned with the changes in the foreigners on the four sides since the end of Hàn and beginning of Wèi. (1)

烏丸、鮮卑即古所謂東胡也。其習俗、前事,撰漢記者已錄而載之矣。故但舉漢末魏初以來,以備四夷之變云。〔一〕

  • (1) Wèishū states:
  • The Wūhuán are Dōnghú. At the beginning of Hàn, Màodùn [-209-174] of the Xiōngnú destroyed their state, and the remnants defended Wūhuán mountain, and from that they gained their name. By custom they are good at riding and archery, they follow the rivers and grasslands herding livestock, they do not establish permanent settlements, and live in round tents as their shelters that all face east to the sun. They shoot and hunt birds and animals, eat meat and drink fermented milk, and wear animal furs as clothes. They esteem youth and not the elderly, and their nature is ferocious and untamed. In anger they can kill their fathers and elder brothers, but to the end will not harm their mothers, because mothers propagate the clan, while fathers and elder brothers can create other tribes, so there is no reason to avenge them.
  • They always advance and choose the most vigorous and strong and able to settle disputes as their Chieftains, the communes each have their lesser leaders, and there is no succession system. Several hundred or thousand communes form one division. When the Chieftain makes a summon or command, carved wood is used as a letter, and communes pass it on. They have no written language, but none of the divisions or armies dare violate the commands. Their clan names and surnames are not permanent. When the Chieftain is strong his name is used as a surname. From the Chieftain down, each manage their own animals and property, and do not conscript labor from one another.
  • In their marriages they all first have secret communications, and make plans to request a girl, and some after half a year or hundred days they send a go-between to send horses and oxen and goats as a betrothal gift. Husbands follow their wives, and when meeting the wives’ families whether to seniors or juniors they rise and bow to all, yet do not bow to their own fathers and mothers. They are servants to the wives’ families for two years, then the wives’ families send off the daughter generously with a dwelling place and property to go out and start a new family. Therefore all decisions are made by the women, until the time for war, then [the men] make the decisions.
  • The fathers and sons and men and women crouch down facing each other, and all shave their heads to be light and flexible. When women reach the time to be married they then grow out their hair and braid it to show their decision, and decorate it with gold and jade, just like the ornaments hanging from caps in the central states. When their fathers and elder brothers die, the sister-in-laws and stepmothers are taken as wives. If there is no sister-in-law, then the sons become kin to the second wife’s uncles, and when she dies they return to their previous place.
  • They note when animals and birds are pregnant or with milk to mark time into four seasons. In tilling and planting they often use the call of the bùgǔ [bird] to mark time. The land is suitable for green millet and eastern qiáng. Eastern qiáng resembles péng “fleabane” grass and their seeds like sunflower seed, and ripens in the tenth moon. They are able to make white liquor, but do not know how to make leavened and fermented grain, and for rice they depend on the central states.
  • The grown men can make bows, arrows, saddles, and reins, and can forge metal and iron to make weapons. They can sew soft leather like patterned embroidery, and weave carpets.
  • When ill, they know how to use moxibustion. Sometimes they use heated rocks on themselves, or lie atop heated ground. Sometimes they follow the source of the illness and use a knife and make cuts to let out blood, and make prayers to the spirits of Heaven and Earth and the Mountains and Rivers. They do not use acupuncture.
  • When an honored soldier dies, they prepare the body for a coffin, and at first they death they weep, and at the burial they sing and dance to send it off. They fatten a dog and harness it with a child’s rope tether, and take it with the deceased’s horse and clothes and commonly used belongings, and burn it all to send it. There is a special type of dog used to protect the spirits of the deceased as they return to the Chì “Red” Mountain. The Red Mountain is several thousand lǐ northwest of Liáodōng. This is similar to how people in the central states believe spirits of the deceased return to Tài Mountain.
  • On the day of the burial, in the night the relatives and old friends gather and sit, and lead the dog and horse into position, some singing and weeping and throwing meat to them. Two people recite incantations, to summon the spirit of the deceased to come and protect it as it passes through obstacles to reach the Red Mountain. Then they kill the dog and horse and burn the clothing.
  • They revere ghosts and spirits, and sacrifice to Heaven and Earth, Sun and Moon and Stars, and Mountains and Rivers, as well as the strongest and most renowned of past Chieftains. They also sacrifice oxen and rams, and in the sacrifice burn them. When they eat and drink they must first make sacrifice.
  • In their laws, those who disobey the words of the Chieftain dies. Thieves are not killed. When they fight and kill each other, communes are ordered to pay compensation to each other. If compensation is not enough, they go to the Chieftain to settle it. If the guilty gives up oxen and goats as compensation for the deaths, then it is settled. Killing one’s own father or elder brother is not a crime. If one flees to rebel and is captured by the Chieftain, none of the communes will accept him, and all send him away into the wilderness.
  • Their land has no mountains, but has deserts, rivers, grasses and trees, and many insects and vermin, is southwest of the Dīnglíng peoples and northeast of the Wūsūn, and is destitute and poor.
  • Since after they were defeated by the Xiōngnú, their people were isolated and weak, and they became subjects and vassals of the Xiōngnú, and every year they sent oxen and horses and goats, and if they were late, then their wives and children were seized. In the time of the Xiōngnú Yīyǎndī Chányú [-78], the Wūhuán regained strength, and desecrated the burial mounds of the Xiōngnú Chányú, to avenge the shame of their defeat by Màodùn. Yīyǎndī Chányú was enraged, and sent twenty thousand cavalry to attack the Wūhuán.
  • General-in-Chief Huò Guāng heard this, and sent General Crossing the Liáo Fàn Míngyǒu to command thirty thousand cavalry to set out from Liáodōng and attack the Xiōngnú. When Míngyǒu’s soldiers were about to arrive, the Xiōngnú had already gone. The Wūhuán were newly met the Xiōngnú army. Taking advantage of their weakness they then attacked the Wūhuán, beheading over six thousand, taking the heads of three Kings, and returned. Afterward they repeatedly raided the border passes, and Míngyǒu immediately attacked and defeated them.
  • At the end of Wáng Mǎng [9-23], the [Wūhuán] joined the Xiōngnú in raiding. Guāng-Wǔ [Liú Xiù, 25-57] settled the realm Under Heaven, and sent General Overcoming Waves Mǎ Yuàn to command three thousand cavalry, to set out from Wǔyuán through the passes to attack them. He was unsuccessful, but killed over a thousand horses. The Wūhuán were flourishing, and attacked the Xiōngnú, and the Xiōngnú moved a thousand lǐ, and the land south of the Desert was empty.
  • Jiànwǔ twenty-fifth year [49], Wūhuán Chieftain Hǎoqiě and others led over nine thousand people to visit the Court, and his commanders numbering over eighty men were given rank as Marquis and Kings and sent to occupy within the border passes, and this was made known to the commanderies of Liáodōng Dependent State, Liáoxī, Yòuběipíng, Yúyáng, Guǎngyáng, Shànggǔ, Dài-jùn, Yànmén, Tàiyuán, Shuòfāng, to summon these peoples, give them clothes and food, install a Colonel to supervise and protect them, and then employ them as Hàn scouts and guards to attack the Xiōngnú and Xiānbēi.
  • During Yǒngpíng [57-75], the Yúyáng Wūhuán Chieftain Qīn Zhìbēn led his tribe in rebellion, the Xiānbēi returned and plundered and did harm. Administrator of Liáodōng Zhài Róngmù killed Zhìbēn, and then broke up his army.
  • In the time of Ān-dì [106-125], the Wūhuán of Yúyáng, Yòuběipíng, Yànmén led their armies and their Kings of all ranks returned to join with the Xiānbēi and Xiōngnú in attacking Dài-jùn, Shànggǔ, Zhuō-jùn, and Wǔyuán. Therefore Minister of Agriculture Hé Xī was appointed Acting General of Chariots and Cavalry, with troops from the Feathered Forest Guard in five camps, and set out to join with the Líyáng camp in the seven border commanderies of twenty thousand men to attack them.
  • The Xiōngnú surrendered, and the Xiānbēi and Wūhuán each returned beyond the border passes. After this, the Wūhuán gradually returned to close relations, and their Chieftain Róng Mòhuì was appointed a Commandant.
  • In the time of Shùn-dì [125–144], Róng Mòhuì led his officers and nobility Duōguī, Qùyán, and others to follow the Colonel of the Wūhuán Gěngyè to set out from the border passes to attack the Xiānbēi and had achievements. They returned and were all titled as commanding army Kings and bestowed with silk.

〔一〕 魏書曰:烏丸者,東胡也。漢初,匈奴冒頓滅其國,餘類保烏丸山,因以為號焉。俗善騎射,隨水草放牧,居無常處,以穹廬為宅,皆東向。日弋獵禽獸,食肉飲酪,以毛毳為衣。貴少賤老,其性悍驁,怒則殺父兄,而終不害其母,以母有族類,父兄以己為種,無復報者故也。常推募勇健能理決鬥訟相侵犯者為大人,邑落各有小帥,不世繼也。數百千落自為一部,大人有所召呼,刻木為信,邑落傳行,無文字,而部眾莫敢違犯。氏姓無常,以大人健者名字為姓。大人已下,各自畜牧治產,不相徭役。其嫁娶皆先私通,略將女去,或半歲百日,然後遣媒人送馬牛羊以為聘娶之禮。婿隨妻歸,見妻家無尊卑,旦起皆拜,而不自拜其父母。為妻家僕役二年,妻家乃厚遣送女,居處財物,一出妻家。故其俗從婦人計,至戰鬥時,乃自決之。父子男女,相對蹲踞,悉髡頭以為輕便。婦人至嫁時乃養髮,分為髻,著句決,飾以金碧,猶中國有冠步搖也。父兄死,妻後母執嫂;若無執嫂者,則己子以親之次妻伯叔焉,死則歸其故夫。俗識鳥獸孕乳,時以四節,耕種常用布穀鳴為候。地宜青穄、東牆,東牆似蓬草,實如葵子,至十月熟。能作白酒,而不知作麴糱。米常仰中國。大人能作弓矢鞍勒,鍛金鐵為兵器,能刺韋作文繡, 織縷氊𣮷。有病,知以艾灸,或燒石自熨,燒地臥上,或隨痛病處,以刀決脈出血,及祝天地山川之神,無鍼藥。貴兵死,斂屍有棺,始死則哭,葬則歌舞相送。肥養犬,以采繩嬰牽,并取亡者所乘馬、衣物、生時服飾,皆燒以送之。特屬累犬,使護死者神靈歸乎赤山。赤山在遼東西北數千里,如中國人以死之魂神歸泰山也。至葬日,夜聚親舊員坐,牽犬馬歷位,或歌哭者,擲肉與之。使二人口頌咒文,使死者魂神徑至,歷險阻,勿令橫鬼遮護,達其赤山,然後殺犬馬衣物燒之。敬鬼神,祠天地日月星辰山川,及先大人有健名者,亦同祠以牛羊,祠畢皆燒之。飲食必先祭。其約法,違大人言死,盜不止死。其相殘殺,令都落自相報,相報不止,詣大人平之,有罪者出其牛羊以贖死命,乃止。自殺其父兄無罪。其亡叛為大人所捕者,諸邑落不肯受,皆逐使至雍狂地。地無山,有沙漠、流水、草木,多蝮蛇,在丁令之西南,烏孫之東北,以窮困之。自其先為匈奴所破之後,人眾孤弱,為匈奴臣服,常歲輸牛馬羊,過時不具,輒虜其妻子。至匈奴壹衍鞮單于時,烏丸轉彊,發掘匈奴單于冢,將以報冒頓所破之恥。壹衍鞮單于大怒,發二萬騎以擊烏丸。大將軍霍光聞之,遣度遼將軍范明友將三萬騎出遼東追擊匈奴。比明友兵至,匈奴已引去。烏丸新被匈奴兵,乘其衰弊,遂進擊烏丸,斬首六千餘級,獲三王首還。後數復犯塞,明友輒征破之。至王莽末,並與匈奴為寇。光武定天下,遣伏波將軍馬援將三千騎,從五原關出塞征之,無利,而殺馬千餘匹。烏丸遂盛,鈔擊匈奴,匈奴轉徙千里,漠南地空。建武二十五年,烏丸大人郝旦等九千餘人率眾詣闕,封其渠帥為侯王者八十餘人,使居塞內,布列遼東屬國、遼西、右北平、漁陽、廣陽、上谷、代郡、鴈門、太原、朔方諸郡界,招來種人,給其衣食,置校尉以領護之,遂為漢偵備,擊匈奴、鮮卑。至永平中,漁陽烏丸大人欽志賁帥種人叛,鮮卑還為寇害,遼東太守祭肜募殺志賁,遂破其眾。至安帝時,漁陽、右北平、鴈門烏丸率眾王無何等復與鮮卑、匈奴合,鈔略代郡、上谷、涿郡、五原,乃以大司農何熙行車騎將軍,左右羽林五營士,發緣邊七郡黎陽營兵合二萬人擊之。匈奴降,鮮卑、烏丸各還塞外。是後,烏丸稍復親附,拜其大人戎末廆為都尉。至順帝時,戎末廆率將王侯咄歸、去延等從烏丸校尉耿曄出塞擊鮮卑有功,還皆拜為率眾王,賜束帛。

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