Horse, Indo-Europeans Spread and The Rising of Zhou Dynasty

Dec. 12, 2002

Jie Bao

(Character "Horse" in oracle-bone inscription of Shang Dynasty)

1 Introduction 1
2 Indo-Europeans Spread and horse 3
2.1 Indo-Europeans Spread 3
2.2 The importance of horse in the Migration of Indo-Europeans 6
3 The military using of horse in Shang Dynasty 7
3.1 The history of horse using in Xia and Shang Dynasties 7
3.2 Whether the Shang Dynasty had a extensive application of horse in military 8
4 The military using of horse in Zhou Dynasty 11
4.1 the Origin and migration of Zhou People 11
4.2 Large-scale horse using by Zhou People 12
5 The possible relationship between the eastward migration of Zhou people and the Indo-Europeans spread 18
5.1 Eastward spread of Indo-Europeans 18
5.2 the spread of Indo-Europeans in Northern China and uprising of other nomads 21
5.3 the second stage spread Indo-Europeans in East Asia and the resulting folks migration 22
6 Conclusions 25
1 Introduction
Just after the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC, possibly the most important ethical migration throughout the whole human history was beginning on almost whole Eurasia Continent west to Mongolia and Tibet. It was the substitution of aboriginal people by Proto-Indo-Europeans on the land from India to Spain.

The declines of the Four Greatest culture centers except China was related to the rising of Indo-European (IE) people. Old Kingdoms of Egypt was ended with the Hyksos Invasion(1720BC-1570BC). Although Hyksos were not Indo-European, their emigration from the Mediterranean Sea east coast was very likely caused by the pressure of IE people, such as the Hittite, who were migrating southward from Asia Minor. Eventually, Egypt was conquered by another group of IE people, the Persians, in 525BC; Ancient India was conquered by Aryans; Babylon was conquered by Assyrians (Semitic) in 688BC and then Assyria was conquered by Medes in 612BC. Aryans, Aryans and Medes are all IE people.

At the same time, Greeks in the Greece peninsula, Tocharians in Central Asia, Celts in Central Europe, Italics( include future Roman people) in the Apennines, Slaves in Eastern Europe, Germans in Northern Europe, had all successfully substituted aboriginal inhabitants. They are all IE people.

So the declination of those civilizations is not unrelated. There must be some very special advantages in the organization or techniques of Proto-Indo-European Society that helped their success in almost the whole Europe, Middle East and Southern Asia. Main body of contemporary people in Europe, America, Southern Central Asia and South Asia are all descendants of Indo-European-language-spoken people; Among the 6 official languages of UN, four kinds are Indo-European language: English, French, Russian, and Spanish. Eleven of the twenty mostly used languages are belonged to Indo-European language (1993, Languages with more than 30,000,000 Speakers as of 1993). It's very peculiar in the history of human beings.

Since the Indo-Europeans people are the first group of people to use iron and horse in the world, we believe their unparalleled success can significantly be attributed to those technological advantages. In the following paragraphs, we will discuss the importance of horse using in the Indo-Europeans spread.

When almost all Eurasia Continent was under the pressure of Indo-Europeans, was the east end of Eurasia Continent - China - isolated to this change? Actually, China was also under a great transformation during the same time, that's the migration of Zhou people in Western China resulting from the pressure of "Rong & Di"[戎狄] people. The Zhou people moved southward to Wei[渭] River valley and then attacked the Shang Dynasty(1600BC-1046BC) in central China. Finally, they substituted it with their own Zhou Dynasty(1046BC-256BC) and caused the big folks migration in East Asia. Since Indo-Europeans (represented by Yueh Chih) had already expended to Western China at the same time and the horse-using nomadic people near north western China suddenly became a big threat to Shang and lately Zhou after middle Shang Dynasty, we believe the the migration of Zhou was not unrelated to the spread of Indo-Europeans, and the using of horse as a military and economic advancement had played a very important role in this progress .

In the following sections we will discuss the relationship between Indo-Europeans military revolution and Shang-Zhou substitution. Section 2 will discuss the importance of using horse in the Indo-Europeans spread; Section 3 will discuss the horse using in Shang Dynasty; Section 4 will discuss how Zhou People used horse; Section 5 will the possible relation between eastward migration of Zhou People and the spread of Indo-Europeans people; finally, we give conclusions in Section 6.

2 Indo-Europeans Spread and horse
- "History is written in the footsteps of the horse."

2.1 Indo-Europeans Spread
Early Indo-Europeans lived in the Steppe area from East Europe to Central Asia, where is Ukraine and Kazakhstan nowadays. They began a great spread to the east, the south and the west in the 2nd millennium BC.


2 3 Stage II in Indo-European spread

(map1,2 from The Spread of Indo-European and Turkish Peoples off the Steppe 3 from Indo-European Migrations)

Between 1700BC-500BC, there was a big folks migration centered at Ukrainian steppe and radiated to coasts on almost whole Eurasia Continent. Different branches of IE people - India, Iranians, Slaves, Germans, Celtics, Greeks, Albanians, Tocharians and Hittites - all developed to be great powers gradually and forced other nations to migrate or perish.

It is not accomplished in one stage and can be roughly divided into three stages.

Stage I was around 2000BC-1500BC and represented by the southward migration of Hittites and the westward migration of Celtics; Stage II was around 1200BC-1000BC and represented by the expansion of German toward Central Europe( and forced the Celts to move further westwards), the invasion of Aryans to India, the invasion of Tocharians to Yellow River Valley , the migration of Latin towards Italy, and the substitution of Minos culture (non Indo-European people) by Greeks( Mycenaean , the nation of Agamemnon) ; Stage III was around 500BC and represented by the rising of Medes and Persians, the great colonization of Greeks, the rising of Rome, and less significant, the expansion of Aryans to Southern India, as south as to Maldives).

It can be summarized as following: (Frederik Kortlandt, The Spread Of The Indo-Europeans)

Eastward migrations:
1. Tocharian.
2a. Indic.
2b. South Iranian.
2c. North Iranian.
(3. East Slavic.)
Southward migrations:
1. Anatolian.
2a. Greek.
2b. Phrygian.
2c. Armenian.
2d. Thracian.
2e. Daco-Albanian.
(3. South Slavic.)
Westward migrations:
1a. Italic.
1b. Venetic
1c. Celtic.
2. Germanic.
(3. West Slavic.)
Please note the Tocharians in Eastward migrations. They expanded as far as Gansu Corridor in China, or even possible more far. They were likely to give important influence to the Chinese history, especially to the Western China.

2.2 The importance of horse in the Migration of Indo-Europeans
Indo-Europeans success should be greatly attributed to the two most important inventions: Iron and horse.

Horse is hard to tame and is the latest tamed common domestic animal throughout the world. However once the horse is tamed, it will be a revolution no matter to the military transportation, chariot or cavalry. As late as the age of Mongolian Empire(1206-1368), the European infantries troops were still nail-biting to Mongolian light cavalry. There was no horse in America Continent; when Pizarro conquered the Inca Empire, he slaughtered six thousand Inca soldiers in Cajamarca only using 168 cavalrymen ( The Horse in History). Chariot could be used to quickly separate and chase the enemy in the attack and could also be encircled together to quickly build a fortification in defense (this tactics was widely used throughout the world, even in the West during 19th century). In general, the mobility brought by horse to war could only be exceeded by the invention of tank 4000 years later. Horse, chariot and stirrup, the three great invention had changed the whole pattern of ancient wars. In short, the taming of horse was the top event in the world military history.

IE people were the earliest people in the world that knew how to horse as early as during 3rd millennium BC. "The single biggest factor accounting for these migrations is probably the horse. A good deal of archeological work indicates that in the same period as the hypothesized spread of the Indo-Europeans, there were more and more groups able to ride horses in the same areas. Moreover, work in the Dnieper river valley of Ukraine indicates that the first groups to domesticate the horse lived there." ( In Search of the Indo-Europeans, by J.P. Mallory. London: Thames and Hudson, 1989) . Aryans, another branch of Indo-Europeans who invaded India, were also recorded as "horse-using people", while no horse had been found in the previous Harappan culture. Horse bone had also been found in the tombs of Bell Beaker and Battle Axe Culture of Celts in Europe ( about middle 3rd millennium BC - early 2nd millennium BC) showing that the creator of this civilization paid much attention to the domestication and using of horse. Wheels may also be used by them.

Toynbee had mentioned in his great work, Mankind and Mother Earth, that the taming of horse helped the Proto-Indo-Europeans as nomadic people to win superiority over framing and commercial people in the south. The defeat of the ancient Egyptian by Hyksos was also resulted from that the latter knew how to use horse (may learnt from Indo-Europeans) while the former couldn't. The ancient China was always harassed by nomadic people in the north and hence had a deep understanding of the importance of horse in military.

Nevertheless, the advantages of horse is not unconditional. Before the invention of stirrup and horseshoe, cavalry couldn't fight continually for a long time, and was hard to exert force on the horse. So it's hard to say they could win when facing the heavy infantries phalanx (of Greeks) or "armored troops"( mixed chariot and infantry alignment). As to the importance of horse in the expansion of Indo-Europeans, it may be crucial in the Stage I and Stage II of the expansion, and became less important when other nations also learned how to use horse in war. Also, along with the taming of camel, Semites in the Middle East had launched a counterattack from Arabian Peninsula. Since iron was invented by Hittite between the Stage I and Stage II migration, the iron may be even more important in the late stage of Indo-Europeans expansion. Cavalry resumed its importance probably only during Roma Empire and Warring States in China.

3 The military using of horse in Shang Dynasty
3.1 The history of horse using in Xia and Shang Dynasties
Xia[夏] people were originated in South Shanxi and Central Henan area. Shang[商] people were originated in lower Yellow River valley around south Hebei and east Henan, and belonged to Eastern Yi tribes with totem of bird. Shang was also called Yin after they set capital at Yin (1300s BC).

China has a history of horse-using independent to Indo-Europeans. < The Book of Documents[尚书] . The Books of Xia. The Songs Of The Five Sons.[五子之歌]> says:" I should feel as much anxiety as if I were driving six horses with rotten reins."[懔乎若朽索之驭六马], but the authenticity of this article still can be ensured. As to archaeological proofs, there is evidence of tamed horse in Longshan Culture in Shandong (2600BC - 2000BC, corresponding to the legendary Huangdi to early Xia, before the Indo-European migration). The animal skeletons excavated in the rite of Chengziya[城子崖]( Zhangqiu[章丘], Longshan[龙山]) includes a lot of horses, although we still don't know if those horses were tamed indigenously. It suggests that there already horse in china during the period of Xia Dynasty. Since no horse was found in the earlier Dawenkou[大汶口] Culture(4040BC—2240BC) in the same area, the taming of horse may not be very early.

The Shiben. Zuopian [世本.作篇] says: “Xiangtu had invented chariot" [相土作乘马]. Xiangtu is the second headman of Shang people around the period of early Xia (20th century BC) and was contemporary the time of early Indo-European expansion .oracle-bone inscription中也有" horse "字(See the title figure, details can be found in [ 中国古代社会 第四章 畜牧]), Chariot had been found in Yinxu[殷墟, the rite of Yin, ] It's the most convincing evidence of horse in Shang Dynasty, and is contemporary to the age of Hittite Empire(1750BC-1200BC).

Unlike the nomadic people, although the Shang people also used horse, but they didn't ride the horse but only for dragging chariot. It was said the first record of chariot in Chinese history was the 70 chariots used by the king Tang [汤] of Shang in the Battle of Gan[甘之战] to conquer the You Hu [有扈氏]. The site of Shang Dynasty has the remaining of whole chariot with horse skeletons (the right figure is the carriage and pair found in late Shang site in Anyang Xiaomintun Nandi[孝民屯南地]). Chinese hadn't learnt to set up cavalry until the military reformation by Zhao Wuling Wang[赵武灵王] of late 4th century BC. However, the chariot-centered army of China was still strong enough to defeat the cavalry of nomadic people.

3.2 Whether the Shang Dynasty had a extensive application of horse in military
However, there are evidences suggesting that the military using of horse in late Shang Dynasty may not be long-lasting and extensive. It's only a temporary reaction to the war against burgeoning nomadic people, such as Guifang.

The military system of Shang dynasty had changed several times. Before the King Wuding[武丁] (1250BC-1192BC, according to the result of the Project of the Timeline of Xia, Shang and Zhou Dynasties[夏商周断代工程]), the divination inscription on oracle bones about war had a lot of records about how many Dengren[登人](the recruited soldiers) and Bufa[步伐] (infantry). It shows the infantry was still the main army type before the middle Shang Dynasty.

The plentiful discovery of horse and chariot in Late Shang sites shows the increasing of chariot troops and the chariot warriors had became a major soldier category. Usually, a chariot was dragged by two horses, other two more horses may be added to the right and the left. There were three passengers on the chariot, the front one is the driver, the bowman at the left position is the head, and the right solider with long dagger[戈] is the guard. Sometime five chariots will be aligned sideward into a group, and 25 chariots were organized into a big group. The accompanied soldiers were grouped in threes (Study on social problems of Shang Dynasty 商代社会诸问题的研究 ). According to oracle-bone inscription, Wuding had at least 300 chariots ( If it's true, the chariot troops of Shang during Wuding period was not weaker than the army of Zhou Wu Wang in his campaign against the King Zhou. That may because the main target of Shang army during Wuding period is the Guifang and Qiangfang. < Yi Jing. Jijing[既济] . the 3rd nine> says: “Gaozong [another name for Wuding] lunched the war against Guifang and conquered them in three years"[高宗伐鬼方, 三年克之] So the using of horse was inevitable. however, the archeological findings suggested other opinions.

Firstly, the horse used in the army of Shang Dynasty was very likely imported from other areas. There were some evidences in Yin Xu (Kwang-Chih Chang, Shang Civilization. Yale University Press,1980):
1- In the hunting recording in the oracle-bone inscriptions , reindeer , roe deer and deer had appeared for more than 500 times, boar and buffalo had appeared more than 100 times, tiger, a larger deer and other unknown animals had appeared less than 10 times次. Such a record is consistent to the archaeological findings. It shows that the big wild animals in central heartland of Shang Dynasty were predominated by Artiodactyls. No wild horse has been found.
2- Dog, cattle, sheep, horse , pig and chicken were discovered in the sacrifice and tomb, but all animals except horse were also found in food garbage. Horse may only be used to drag chariot. By contrast, the used quantity of cattle is so large that one thousand cattle may be used in one sacrifice ceremony.
3- =There was record of horse imports in oracle Bone Inscriptions (Hu Houxuan[胡厚宣], study of five kinds event-recording oracle inscriptions of Wuding period [武丁时期五种记事刻辞考])

It's evident that the Shang people valued the horse much. It's quite different to the nomadic people who had a large-scale cattle and horse-raising. This may because that there were still no large-scaled horse-breeding in central China at that time, a limited quantity of horses were acquired only from war or tribute. Maintaining a army of extensive horse-using was surely a big burden to civil economics. (Even in the Han Dynasty of one millennium later, the central China area was also lack of horses, the Emperor Wu of Han [汉武帝] had exhausted the whole empire but still could only use less than 200 hundred horses in one expedition, while Huns could mobilize 400 hundred horsemen at the same time! )

Secondly, along with the defeat of Guifang and the primary fighting target changed to Yi[夷] people in the east (especially during King Zhou[纣] period of Late Shang, Zuo Zhuan[左传] (Lu Zhao Gong[昭公] 11th year) :“King Zhou conquered the Eastern Yi but was dead himself”[纣克东夷,而殒其身]), chariot troop may be neglected, chariots were mostly used in noble etiquette.

The section of Military Forces(p194) in Shang Civilization had described the chariot and horse excavated from Yin Xu in details, and said weapons were mostly found in the chariot pit. However, it also pointed out that those chariots were all decorated with bronze and gems, the body of the chariot was drawn with animals. So those chariots were just ceremonial appliances. Accompanied by whole set of weapons may be a symbol of power, because China had a tradition of using complete set of chariot and weapons , such as the Nine Grants [九锡], as a symbol of power and awarded them with prominent ministers or buried them with dead nobles. The bridle decoration found in Yin Xu (see right figure, from Yin Xu website) was so delicate that was all decorated by clam shells and high-quality jade, but it apparently would not be used in the war.

Fuhao[妇好], the wife of Wuding, was an important female general during late Shang Dynasty who had lead the expedition to Guifang. Her name had been mentioned in the oracle-bone inscription many times. Her tomb was found in 1976 untouched without any theft before. Many buried weapons were found, including the big bronze tomahawk of the symbol of military leadership, but no horse-related military appliances found (except for a jade horse). If the cavalry or chariot a permanent and major troop in the Shang army, it's hard to imagine there were no saber, chariot or saddle found in the tomb of such a high-rank general. If it was really true, it can only be explained by that the role played by horse in the army of Shang Dynasty was not so prominent.

Chariot was not a necessary armed force for the farming and commercial people before they contacted with nomadic people. it's too expensive to use horse in the army by long-term horse import. So when the threat of Guifang was relieved, the horses used in the Shang army may be greatly reduced.

Furthermore, the record of horse in Shang Dynasty in literature is also few. < Book of Odes[诗经], Odes to Shang[商颂]> only mentions horse once in ChangFa[长发],

He received the tribute [of the States] , large and small ,[受小共大共]
And he supported them as a strong steed [does its burden] [為下國駿厖]

Compared with <the Odes to Zhou>(see section 4), the frequency of horse and chariot is obviously low.

As to the generality of military using of horse in Shang, my opinion is to compare the Yin Xu site of Late Shang with other early Shang sites, such as Erligang[二里岗], Panlongcheng[盘龙城], Luwangfen[潞王坟], and Taixichun[台西村]. If we can find lots of weapons but no horse or chariot, it should support the hypothesis that the military use of horse in Shang army was limited to royal ceremonies and royal army (not for provincial armies).

4 The military using of horse in Zhou Dynasty
4.1 the Origin and migration of Zhou People
The Zhou People were originated in the upper valley of Yellow River in Middle Shaanxi and Western Gansu. They lived mixing with other minority tribes in Northwestern China. Shiji[史记]* Benji of Zhou says: "Buzhou lost his official position and lived among barbarians" [不窋以失其官而儆戎狄之间]. Because their homeland was close to nomadic people, the Zhou people was always harassed by barbarians ("Rong & Di" people). They were forced to move several times, firstly to Bin[豳], (today's Xunyi[栒邑] or Binxian[邠县] in Shaanxi province) during Gongliu[公刘, the headman] time )and resumed as a agricultural tribe,("[Zhou people] resumed the occupation of Houji[后稷, the creator of Zhou around 2000s BC] and became farmer" [复修后稷之业,务耕种]- Benji of Zhou)). After living in Bin for more than three hundred years ( Biographies of Huns in Shiji) , Zhou tribe were forced to move again by "Rong & Di" to Zhou Yuan[周原] ( "today's Fufeng, Shaanxi) at the foot of Mt. Qi [岐]. Then during Wen Wang[文王, King Wen] period (around 1100BC), they moved again to Fengyi[丰邑](in today's' Changan[长安] ). Wu Wang[武王, King Wu], the son of Wen Wang, moved further to east and eventually conquered Shang Dynasty.

the Migration of Zhou People

We can find that after the period of Wuding, both Shang People and Zhou People were under the pressure of "Rong" and "Di" people from the west and the north, and the migration of Zhou People was the result of such pressure. The source of such pressure may come from that those tribes had learnt how to use horse. If we connect this to the fact that the eastern branch of Indo-Europeans people - Yueh Chih - was living in a place (central Gansu) close to Zhou People, it's quite reasonable to think it's the Yueh Chih or the Tocharians in their west had introduced the extensive using of cavalry or chariot to China, and caused a new chain reaction of folks migration. Then, the farming people under such pressure, just like the Egypt who learned horse-using from the Hyksos did, was also voluntarily or forced to learn how to use horse in large scale in military actions.

4.2 Large-scale horse using by Zhou People
Unlike the Shang people, Zhou people were originally living among Rong people and more sensitive to the challenge of horse-using people. They were more used to use horse in military and economic life.

< Greater Odes Of The Kingdom [大雅] . Mian[绵]> reviewed the early history of Zhou:

The ancient duke Tan-fu ,
Came in the morning , galloping his horses ,
Along the banks of the western rivers ,
To the foot of [mount] Qi ;
[古公亶父, 来朝走马 .率西水浒, 至于岐下]

Benji of Zhou also said :"So Gugong had changed the tradition of barbarians and built houses and cities to live [于是古公乃贬戎狄之俗, 而营筑城郭室屋, 而邑别居之]" It's only a euphemism by Sima Qian (the author of Shiji), actually the ancestry of Zhou may be just the barbarians (Rong or Di) itself. although they had settled down and became farmers latter, but were still less civilized and kept many Rong & Di traditions. Especially, the horse was very important in the life of Zhou People. < Greater Odes Of The Kingdom. Da Ming[大明]> says:

The troops of Yin-Shang ,
Were collected like a forest ,
And marshaled in the wilderness of Mu .
We rose [to the crisis] ; --
'God is with you , ' [said Shang-fu to the king] ,
'Have no doubts in your heart . '

The wilderness of Mu spread out extensive ;
Bright shone the chariots of sandal ;
The teams of bays , black-manned and white-bellied , galloped along ;

[殷商之旅 其会如林
矢于牧野 维予侯兴
上帝临女 无贰尔心

牧野洋洋 檀车煌煌 驷騵彭彭]

So as early as the conquest of Shang, the Zhou army had already been equipped by chariots . In the < Records of Rites> [also Li Ji, 礼纪] , the chapter about military system is called <summer officials: horse keeper[夏官司马]>. According to Zhou regimentation system, a chariot was accompanied by 72 infantries and 3 armored soldiers. The expedition army of Wu Wang against the King Zhou (1046BC) possessed three hundred chariots :"Then (Wu Wang ) lead the army of three hundred chariots, three hundred guard troops and 45,000 soldiers to fight against the King Zhou [遂率戎车三百乘,虎贲三千人,甲士四万五千人,以东伐纣]", while "other states also sent troops of totally four thousand chariots, and deploy the troops at Muye"[诸侯兵会者车四千乘,陈师牧野]( Benji of Zhou )
There are many items related to horse in the Book of Change (also called I Ching, YiJing, IChing [易经], for example:

- Kun, very auspicious, a good divination for mare [坤: 元, 亨, 利牝马之贞]

- Tun, the second six : Tun implies hardship, they comes on the horse [屯, 六二: 屯如邅如, 乘马班如]

In the Odes to Zhou and Odes of Lu(Lu [鲁] was the state of Zhou Gong and the most intimate vassal of Zhou), there are also horse-related prose:

The noble visitor ! The noble visitor !
Drawn like his ancestors by white horses !
["有客有客, 亦白其马 "] - 有客 YOU KE

Fat and large are the stallions ,
On the plains of the far-distant borders .
["駉駉牡马 , 在坰之野"] - 駉 JIONG

Fat and strong , fat and strong ,
Fat and strong , are the chestnut teams
["有駜有駜, 駜彼乘黄"]- 有駜 YOU BI

His horses are grand .
His fame is brilliant .
["其马蹻々, 其音昭昭" ] - 泮水 PAN SHUI

Almost all poems in memorial to past kings will mention horse . The Odes of Lu[鲁颂]. Bi Gong[閟宫] said:

Our prince's chariots are a thousand ,
[And in each] are the vermilion tassels and the green bands of the two spears an d two bows .
His footmen are thirty thousand ,
With shells no vermillion-strings adorning their helmets .
So numerous are his ardent followers ,
To deal with the tribes of the west and north ,
And to punish [those of] King and Shu ,
So that none of them will dare to withstand us

[公车千乘, 朱英绿縢.二矛重弓.
公徒三万, 贝胄朱綅.
烝徒增增, 戎狄是膺,
荆舒是惩, 则莫我敢承!]

It's talking about the army equipment during the East expedition of Zhou Gong (more than 10 years after the conquest of Shang). It may be a little exaggerated about "chariots are a thousand", but several hundred was believable. Still formidable enough to beat the Jing (King) and Shu people as "none of them will dare to withstand us".

After the midterm of Zhou Dynasty, China was under more serious threat of nomadic people, especially from the Xianyun[猃狁] (they were also called Huns later). The < Book of Odes[诗经] Minor Odes Of The Kingdom [小雅] . Proceeded With Our Carriage [出车] > said :

The son of Heaven had charged us [天子命我]
To build a wall in that northern region [城彼朔方]
Awe-inspiring was Nan Zhong [赫赫南仲]
The Xian-yun were sure to be swept away ! [猃狁于襄]

This is talking about the war against Xianyun lead by Nanzhong[南仲] during the rule of Zhou Hsüan (or Xuan) Wang (827BC-782BC). What kind of force did they depend on? The prose for event of the same period < Minor Odes Of The Kingdom. gather the thorn-ferns[采薇]> said:
Let us gather the thorn-ferns , let us gather the thorn-ferns [采薇采薇]
The thorn-ferns are now springing up [薇亦作止]
When shall we return ? When shall we return ? [曰归曰归]
It will be late in the [next] year .[岁亦莫止]
Wife and husband will be separated ,[靡家靡室]
Because of the Xian-yun .[玁狁之故]
We shall have no leisure to rest ,[不遑启居]
Because of the Xian-yun . [玁狁之故]


What is that so gorgeous ? [彼尔维何]
It is the flowers of the cherry tree . [维常之华]
What carriage is that ? [彼路斯何]
It is the carriage of our general .[君子之车]
His war carriage is yoked ;[戎车既驾]
The four steeds are strong . [四牡业业]
Dare we remain inactive ?[岂敢定居]
In one month we shall have three victories . [一月三捷]

The four steeds are yoked [驾彼四牡]
The four steeds , eager and strong [ 四牡騤騤]
The confidence of the general [君子所依]
The protection of the men .[小人所腓]
The four steeds move regularly , like wings [四牡翼翼]
There are the bow with its ivory ends , and the seal-skin quiver [象弭鱼服]
Shall we not daily warn one another ?[岂不日戒]
The business of the Xian-yun is very urgent [玁狁孔棘]

It clearly tells us the war against Xianyun was carried out with chariot. Notably, it's carriage of four while the chariots of Shang were usually carriage of pair. The result of "In one month we shall have three victories" may be caused or speeded up by such a tactic advancement. We can't know exactly what tactics did the Zhou army apply to fight Xianyun, but undoubtedly, it was much more powerful than an army of solely infantries.

From the perspective of language, Zhou people might belong to the same language family, Sino-Tibetan , to the Shang people. Compared with Shang, Zhou was barbarian both in culture and in economics, But they created a chariot-center army along with the contact with nomadic people (Indo-Europeans in Gansu Corridor or Altaic/Sino-Tibetan tribes in Erdos), their military force had even exceed Shang. Under the attack of such a semi-barbarian while itself had already rotten, the Shang Dynasty was swept away just like the high-civilized Song China was conquered by Juchen people (1127AD)

5 The possible relationship between the eastward migration of Zhou people and the Indo-Europeans spread
After reviewing above discussion, we can find something quite interesting:

1- From the Wuding period (late 1300's BC) to the rising of Zhou (middle 1100's BC), "Hua Xia" (the very beginning name of Chinese , about 2000BC) countries and tribes were forced to face to the great pressure from nomadic people. The time span is just overlapped with the 2nd stage of Indo-Europeans spread.
2- Because the Zhou People had a close contact to "barbarian" military tactics , while had a basis of agricultural culture, they could perform the the military revolution from infantry troops to chariot more quickly and deeply than Shang people .
3- The rising of Guifang and Xianyun was just after the Tocharian IE people has been "squeezed" out from central Asia to Chinese Turkistan and upper valley of yellow river by the IE people spoken proto-Iranian language.

Those facts give us a strong implication: the conquest of Shang by Zhou can be related to the wane of kingdoms in other cultures and represented the rising of horse-riding people of inner land Asia. Since the Zhou People were also "squeeze" out by other barbarians, we have reasons to believe that this migration was a part of the great folks migration starting at the second millennium BC on the Eurasia Continent, and the original reason is the horse, or say, the rising of nomadic economy and nomadic people. No matter whether Chinese had already large-scale horse application for military in the middle Shang(13th century BC), it's an influence (directly or indirectly) from Indo-European to China. At most late to the 11th century BC, this military revolution was finished by Zhou People and they eventually unified the whole Yellow River valley . Obviously, the new military tactics and the unprecedented pressure to central china from northwestern nomadic tribe, was right related to the eastward expansion of Indo-Europeans.

5.1 Eastward spread of Indo-Europeans
About 1500BC, Aryans IE people form Ural-Volga valley had moved eastward to Central Asia and Iran Plateau, and then drove the original inhabitant, another branch of Indo-Europeans, Tocharians from Mt. Tianshan to Loess Plateau. Aryans lived in Iran Plateau were ancestors of the Persian, Aryans in central Asia were ancestors of the Scythians, they all spoke Iranian; part of Aryans went southward into India and conquered the Dravidians, they were the ancestor of Hindi-spoken people. (Liu Shuilong[刘水龙] the history of Central Asia(XinJiang) )

Among those eastward migrated IE people, the Yueh Chih were lived in Gansu Corridor in upper Yellow River valley for almost one thousand years. They were once very strong ,"At that time, Donghu was powerful and Yueh Chih was strong "[当是时,东胡强而月氏盛],"They had a army of ten to twenty thousand "[控弦者可一二十万]. Yueh Chih "are nomadic country , they move with their livestock, and share same customs to Huns"[行国也, 随畜移徙, 与匈奴同俗]( Shiji, Biography of Dayuan[大宛列传]). In 177BC, they were expelled by Huns to Amu River Valley in the central Asia, and created famous Kushan Empire later.(48AD -241AD. see the left map)

Biography of Emperor Mu, Chapter I [ 穆天子传卷一] mentioned when Zhou Mu Wang attacked Quan Rong[犬戎] in 989BC, he passed Yanju[焉居] and Yuzhi[禺知]. Wang Guowei[王国维] and Jian Bozhan[剪伯赞] thought that the Yuzhi was just the inflexion of Yushi[虞氏], Yueh Chih; and Yanju is Yanqi[焉耆], and were the Yiqu near the Qin kingdom (refer to section 5.2)

West to Yueh Chih there were Wusun[乌孙] and Scythians, they were all the fruits of of stage III Indo-Europeans expansion. Yang Jin [杨瑾] mentioned this in the large-scale absorption and remote spread of Qin culture [ 秦文化的大规模吸收和远距离传播]:

"Around the 7th century BC, a nomadic tribe pasturing on the great steppe between Issac Kul Lake and and Lake Balkhash entered Mt. Tianshan area and then built their country near today's Yili[伊犁,Ili] , This tribe was called Sai People[塞人] in Chinese historical records, Sakes in Persian literature, and Scythians by the Greeks. They are Aryan people of Iranian language Eastern Iran dialect, and lived around Karkashen Lake, Hotan River and Kariya River Valley. The Western Empress[西王母] in the Biography of Emperor Mu was actually the headman of Scythians tribes. Shen Fuwei [沈福伟] thought that “西” (Xi, west) was a translation both in pronunciation and meaning from "Scythia" or "Scyth" (because they were in the west of China). Russian scholar Bernstein thought the Wusun people pasturing east to Mt. Tianshan was a branch of Scythians, Scythians and Wusun were two stages of one culture. Book of Mountains and Seas[山海经, written in Warring States] said the westernmost northern country was the Wuji [无继国] near the Buluntuo Lake[布伦托海] in north Xinjiang, and its east domain reached the upper valley of Ili river. This Wuji was actually Wusun, or called Issedonians by Greeks. the most close-related but also most complex nations were “Eight Western Rong States”, including Mianzhu, Gunrong, Dirong, Huanrong, Yiqu, Dali, Wushi, and Quyan. Among them, the Yiqu was the strongest one enemy of Qin. Lin Meichun[林梅村] thought that Yiqu may be a sub ranch of Tocharians based the identity of the pronunciation of "horse" in Yiqu word and Tocharian language "

We can see the stage II and stage III of IE expansion had both affected the central Asia and western China, Undoubtedly, it had important influence upon native people in both those area and adjacent areas. The eastward migration of Zhou People was an indirect result of the stage II expansion, while the rising of Qin people (7th century BC to 4 century BC ) was corresponding to the stage III expansion. Their rising pattern was almost the same to Zhou People.

5.2 the spread of Indo-Europeans in Northern China and uprising of other nomads
After the spread of Tocharians, a lot of tribes were distributed on a wide region from Mt. Tianshan to Erdos. The mixed tribes of Tocharians and Di & Qiang people (Sino-Tibetan) in the upper valley of Yellow River were undistinguished called "Western Rong" [西戎] by "Hua & Xia" China (or say, Xia, Shang and Zhou people). Among Western Rong, the strongest tribe was Quan Rong[犬戎], then was the Yiqu[义渠], the Dali[大荔], the Wushi[乌氏] and the Quyan[朐衍]. The Yiqu was the strongest Rong people at the northwest of Qin and mostly lived in today's northwest to Qingyang[庆阳], Gansu. Their territory also included today's Helan Mt.[贺兰山], the land east from Qingtongxian[青铜峡] in Ningxia[宁夏] and Huanxian[环县], Malianhe[马莲河] area in Gansu Province. Yiqu was very flourishing during Spring and Autumn, with their own king, city and country. In 272BC "( King of Qin) entrapped the King of Yiqu in Ganquan Palace and then conquered Yiqu" [诱杀义渠王于甘泉宫,因起兵灭之]

There were also White people (or say, Caucasian people), in North China. They might be the Indo-Europeans, or the Altaic language spoken people influenced by non-European expansion. For details, please refer to Lu Simian[吕思勉], History of Chinese Ethnicities [中国民族史] , "Study on Chi Di and Bai Di[赤狄白狄考]" and "Huns"[匈奴篇]. Wang Zhonghan[王锺翰] History of Chinese Ethnicities [ China民族史] "Eastern Yi, Southern Man, West Rong and Northern Di" gave a detailed list of the name of various Rong and Di people in Northern China and Northwestern, some even in today's Hebei, Shanxi ,Shaanxi, and inland Henan. The Quan Rong[犬戎, dog barbarian], ChangRong [长狄, long barbarian], Chi Di [赤狄, red barbarian] and Bai Di[白狄, white barbarian] were related with future Huns. they were very likely of White people. Even as late as in Sixteen Kingdoms (316-420), their offspring in central China still had "deep eyes and high nose". Wang Guowei(王国维) mentioned the face feature of Huns in his Continued Study on Western Hu [西胡续考]:

"The deep eyes and big beard was not the features only for Western Hu (the people in central Asia). It's possible the Huns which called Hu in the the ancient ages were also looked like this. Although no feature description for Huns found in the history books wrote in Han Dynasty, the Hu people in Jin dynasty are all descendants of south Huns. Jin Shu[晋书] Biography of Shi Jilong[石季龙裁记] said:" the chamberlain of Crown Prince[太子詹事] Sun Zhen[孙珍] asked[侍中]Cui Yue[崔约]: " I have eye disease, do you have any prescription to cure it?” Yue want to make fun with him and said:" pissing on your eyes can cure you" Zhen said: "why should I get piss on my eye?’ Yue said: " your eyes are very deep so it's a good container for piss." Zhen hated that and told Shi Xuan[石宣]. Among his father's sons, Xuan was the one most like Hu people with deep eyes, so he was in big rage and killed Yue and his sons. Also, when Ran Min [闵] led the Zhao people to kill all Hu and Jie[羯]people: both noble and plebeians, both men and women, both the youngsters and the elders. More than two hundred thousand people were killed. the provincial officials also began massacre when they got letter from Min. Many person with high nose and big beard were manslaughtered……Jie people of Jin was a branch of Huns. Since they showed same featured of high nose and big beard with Western Hu, the face feature of ancient Huns can be known”.

So it's possible the Di people were white people.

During the ancient age of Shang and Zhou period, China may had even more white Altaic people or Indo-Europeans. They were all nomadic people or descendant of nomadic people. Among them, the Huns( Guifang, Hunyi[混夷], Xunyu[獯鬻], Hunzhou[荤粥]、Xianyun[猃狁]、Hu[胡]) were the biggest trouble of China for almost 2000 years from the age of Wuding to North Wei(386AD-534AD). Although they may be Indo-Europeans ethnically, their impact on Chinese may indirectly come from the Indo-Europeans - just like the chain reaction of migration of Huns, Ostrogoths, Visigoths in Europe.

5.3 the second stage spread Indo-Europeans in East Asia and the resulting folks migration
The above discussion about White people in China is to show that China also received the impact of horse taming (by Indo-Europeans and Altaic language people - Tungus, Mongolian and Turks) directly or indirectly during the second millennium BC via the Eurasian steppe. When taming of horse, the Proto-Indo-Europeans emigrated from Ukraine-Kazakh steppe to the east, the south and the west triggered the chain-reaction migration on their way with the diffusion of horse rising technique. One eastward migrating branch may arrive at the today's Xinjiang or even North China, or at least spread the horse-rising technique to those places. All those people, no matter Indo-Europeans, Altaic people, or western Sino-Tibetan people who had learnt horse-riding from the former two group, were all new threats to the kingdoms in central China. There was no big trouble of barbarians in China during Xia Dynasty(21st century BC - 17th century BC), while there was a serious trouble in the Shang and Zhou(17th century BC - 3rd century BC) Dynasty. During Shang Dynasty, there were Qiangfang[羌方] and Guifang. During Western Zhou there is Xianyun. Many nomadic people even migrated to the heartland of China. And Western Zhou was finally destroyed by Quan Rong.

Xu Zhouyun[许倬云] History of Western Zhou (Chapter 2, Section 8) proposed that the migration may have its meteorological reasons: "[we] can even narrow it to 1500BC-1200BC, the spread of herd on the steepe had greatly increased the indirect pressure which took place in Central Asia on Shang and Zhou from their north and northwest. (Shernatt,1980:254—255). the border of grassland and forest around 1500BC was near 56NL line, and it moved 200 miles northward to 60NL in 1250BC (Watson,1971:42). This is a warm and proliferation period for the steppe. However, according to Zhu Kezhen[竺可桢], China had suffered a cool period around 1000BC and wasn't warm up until Spring and Autumn (770BC - 476BC). The small ice age began in the Asia Pacific coast , then moved westward to the Atlantic cost of Eurasia Continent along with a trend from north to south(Zhu Kezhen,1979). With Zhu's temperature curve, we can guess nomadic people in Mongolia and Northwestern China were very likely to emigrate to the south driven by frigidity. So it's not strange why the Rong & Di on the northwestern border of China was so active during late Shang and early Zhou, and it was also the original cause of the war between Shang people and Guifang and the forced migration of Zhou People under the Rong&Di pressure. "

L. S. Stavrianos even further asserted that the rising of Shang culture was also related to this expansion in his A Global History , Chapter Six , End of Ancient Civilizations:" About 1500B.C. charioteers with bronze weapons also invaded the distant valley of the Yellow River in North China. There they found a flourishing Neolithic culture from which evolved the Shang Civilization. ... The Chou people had for a long time lived in the Wei Valley on the fringes of civilization, so that they shared the language and basic culture of the Shang at the same time that they borrowed military techniques from the sheep-herding 'barbarians' to the north and west."

Summary such a migration of a bunch of folks, we can draw a simplified picture as following:

- About 1500BC, Aryan branch of Indo-Europeans moved eastward to Central Asia and Iran Plateau, and drove their Indo-European cousins of Tocharians in this area further east to Mt. Tianshan or even to Loess Plateau. (the Aryans also invaded India)
- Tocharians controlled the territory from Mt. Tianshan to Gansu Corridor , and forced the aboriginals - Qiang[羌] and Rong[戎] people to move to further east; part of the Tocharians even migrated into Northern China
- Under the influence of Tocharians, Northern China was under the harassment of horse-using nomadic people.
- Zhou People were forced to move southward under the pressure of "Rong & Di" people
- Zhou People entered middle valley of Yellow River, conquered the Shang Dynasty, and establish the Zhou Dynasty

Actually , such a "chain reaction" was not finished along with the death of Shang Dynasty. After that:
- Shang People was scattered into states of Jin[晋], Lu[鲁], Wei[卫] and Song[宋];
- Under the attacks of Zhougong[周公] ,Qi[齐] and Lu[鲁], the Yi[夷] people (They had already been heavily beaten by Shang during late Shang period ) had to gradually retreat southwardly or eastwardly from Eastern Henan, Shandong and north Huai R. valley.
- Jing[荆] people was forced to move by Zhou People to Hubei area and created state Chu[楚]
- Yue[越] people was forced to retreat from Yangtze Valley to the valleys of Zhu River, Min River and Qiantang River, under the pressure of Chu.

The culture gap between Zhou People and Shang people People is somehow big, such as the wizard religion, the wine culture, the feudal system, and so on. The conquest of central China by Zhou People can be compared with the Sixteen Kingdoms (316-420) or Manchurian Conquest (1644), was a example of how advanced people could be conquered by "barbarians" because of corruption or the lack of active military. However, the latter Chinese culture system inherited more features from Zhou than from Shang. Especially on the family-state system and the separation of the church from the state( Shang people didn't care much about the distinguish between religion and politics), founded the basis of politic and social organization in China for three thousand years.

6 Conclusions
- China have domesticated horse independently from Indo-Europeans.
- But Chinese hadn't used horse widely in the war until Shang Dynasty.
- The Migration of Zhou People was resulted from the pressure of other nomadic people and was a part of the great migration caused by Proto-Indo-Europeans.
- Zhou People had learnt how to build a army equipped with horse in the contact and confliction with Indo-Europeans and Altaians.
- Such a military advantage had speeded up the progress of Zhou People to defeat Shang
- After the conquest of central China, based on their own culture with complement from Shang culture, Zhou People had established the culture which will be dominating in china for three thousand years.

So the Chinese culture was also under the impact of the military using of horse. However, different to Babylon and India but similar to Egypt, the change in China is one kind of cultural fusion and development. After this challenge, New Kingdom of Egypt had flourished again, and Western Zhou of China had almost unified the whole Yellow River Valley , but Babylon and ancient India were only left in memorials - forever.

Shi Jing [Book of Odes] is translated by the Library of University of Virginia
Are other cited documents are linked to their source.

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