Who were Hunnu?
Who were Hunnu?
For many decades the study of ancient history of Mongols was subject to ideological directives and politics. And therefore, with the removal of political and ideological restraints after political reforms of 1990, archeology now experiences a boom.
One of the hottest areas is the history of Hunnu, a nomadic tribe that ruled the vast stretches of Central Asian steppes and forced China to go into extreme effort of building the Great China wall in attempt to protect against devastating raids.
The name of Atilla, the Hunnu king who led his men all the way to the walls of Rome and destroyed it to the horror of the Europe an nations probably rings a bell.
Hunnus become known around I-III centuries B.C., around the time armies of Greek Alexander the Great launched their offense against Persia and India.
The Hunnu kingdom stretched from Baikal Lake in the north to Great Chinese Wall in south, from Yellow Sea to the oases of Central Asia.
The state, ruled by a king or Shanyu elected by assembly of all tribe chieftains- khurultai, was built on the principle of military democracy under which all the nomadic herders were warriors and subjects at the same time.
Chinese historical records noted that each autumn all men and cattle were counted to decide the amount of taxes and army subscripts.
Hunnu army was based on decimal system and was well armed. Rock paintings from that period depict armored knights and horses protected with aprons embroidered with metal plates.
Hunnu domesticated various animals including camels and grew crops. Inside graveyards corn grindstone and parts of plough prove that their grew crops.
Hunnu knew metal works as the amazing number variety of their arms suggest. Each and very Hunnu warrior had various arms for close and distance combat. Plenty of bronze and potter kitchenware proves that Hunnu had well developed craftsmen.
The decline of Hunnu empire began in the first century B.C. starting from the rivalry of two princes, Huhan’e and Zhizhi. After several major battles the younger brother fled, leading his men to West, towards the Caspian Sea.
500 years later, their descendants migrated further reaching Dunai River and setting up own kingdom headed by Atilla.
The remaining and weakened Hunnu fell under the repeated assaults of a neighboring nomadic tribe, Xianbi, which appeared on the eastern flanks of the Hunnu empire.
Recent research suggests that Hunnu did not differ much from modern Mongols in their appearance and may represent their ancestors.
Anthropological studies show that the Mongoloid race or Central Asian type was already well shaped by the time of Hunnu.
This a final conclusion made by Prof. G.Tumen, Chair of the Anthropology and Archeology of the Mongolian National University, after more than 30 years of comparative study of skulls from Stone Age to modern times.
DNA analysis also proved the consistency of genetic lines between Hunnu and modern Mongols. This scientific conclusion implies that Atilla the Hun was indeed an ancestor of Chinggis Khaan.
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