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9/23/2012

Reconsidering Marco Polo

Filed under: — Jonathan Dresner @ 1:07 am

"Marco Polo’s reports of China, now judged mostly hearsay...." Perry Anderson, LRB

MMA 2012 - China - Tang - late 7c - Camel and RidersI got an email from a student who found my blog post in which I make a highly critical case regarding the historicity of Marco Polo's adventures. They wanted to confirm (since some data was lost in the latest HNN transition) that it was mine for citation purposes. I've been considering revisiting it for a while now, (( You can tell by the dates on the articles linked here, this has been in draft for quite a while )) and this seems like a good time, because my views on the subject have evolved a bit since: I'm still highly skeptical of Polo, but more importantly, I think the very structure of the argument and nature of the sources makes it highly unlikely that the believers and skeptics will come to a consensus. When I expressed my doubts, lo those many years ago, I was informed that there was still some life left in Polo's tale. It turns out that there is so much scholarship on aspects of Polo's text that there's even a term for it -- "Polan scholarship" and if there's one thing Polan scholars can't stand, it's to have Polo's work seriously questioned. All the errors are "honest"; all the omissions are "explicable"; all the unconfirmed and untranslated stuff are just waiting to be decoded if only we had better Chinese sources; and incomprehensible bits are the result of Polo listening to the wrong people. That's the attitude going in, and it's the same attitude coming out. (( there's a lot of emotion in Polan defenses, though if I'd made a life's work on a complex source and found a lot of scholars who hadn't attacking it as fraudulent, I might be emotional about it as well )) There seem to be lots of Euro-centric scholars with strong attachments to Polo, but a lot of Sino-centric scholars were very dubious. (( E.g. Obituary of John Larner, historian of Marco Polo. And "New archeological data highlights Polo errors." )) Foreigners were involved in Qin construction, and travel in China was common and widespread: the idea that China was closed or that people never migrated are both vestiges of simplistic thinking rather than historical verities. Even the harshest critics of Polo's historicity admit that he got some thing right, and must have had some valid sources. The question is whether he was an eyewitness and participant in the history and culture he described, and, most importantly, whether he can be considered a credible independent source for the study of Chinese history and culture. I think the answer is still "no." The story is great, but even if you take it seriously, it's fantastical. ((WaPo review of new Polo bio)) Still, having entered this fray, I feel an intellectual obligation to stay informed. So when I ran across a catalog blurb for Stephen Haw's Marco Polo's China: a Venetian in the realm of Khubilai Khan (Routledge, 2006), it piqued my interest; thanks to inter-library loan, I finally got hold of it. Only for a week, unfortunately, but it was an interesting ride. Haw's work is mostly about details: linguistic, biological and cultural details which jibe with Yuan China and particularly those which seem to be based most firmly on observation instead of second-hand transmission. At times the argument feels stretched, linguistically and zoologically, and the disjunction between the evidence and the conclusions is consistent throughout. Unfortunately, Haw relies heavily on de Rachewiltz's pro-Polo arguments on authenticity, and then goes well beyond it. Essentially, everything that Polo gets right, especially if he gets it just a little bit wrong, proves his story; Polo is never an unreliable narrator, except where he's been given bad information.
It has very commonly been said that Marco exaggerates in his descriptions of the Yuan empire and other places. This is only partly true. Frequently, his account is entirely accurate....His description of Hangzhou is very largely confirmed by Chinese sources. Where obvious exaggerations do occur, it is usually very likely that they reflect information that had been given to Marco by others, rather than his own tendency to overstatement.

The hedging and dodging here is then followed up by a remarkable strawman argument, an attack on a reductio version of Polo criticism that I've never heard anyone offer. The fact that Polo got a fair bit right proves that he wasn't lying about anything, because he could have just made the whole story up. But there aren't any critics who think Polo made it all up; most Polo critics argue that he plagiarized large portions of his descriptions, and inserted himself into the story in the most dramatic and self-gratifying way he thought plausible. This is a long quotation, yes, but I want Haw's whole argument visible; I don't want people to think I'm creating a straw man from his claims:

If Marco had wished to exaggerate wildly, whether in relation to his own position in the empire of the Great Khan, or in his description of the East, he could very easily have done so. How many people in Europe at the time could have contradicted him, whatever he had put in his book? Apart from his father and uncle, there were very few indeed who had travelled so extensively, or spent so long, in the eastern half of Asia. His relatives might have been persuaded not to expose any false claims, so as not to shame the family. If Marco had wanted to lie, to invent for himself a false position as an important servant of Khubilai Khan, a life of glory in the Far East, then he could have said virtually anything he wanted. There was no reason at all for him to try to be more than minimally accurate, to include just enough truth in his story to make it more or less credible. The fact that most of his account is, on the contrary, demonstrably truthful and correct is a very strong argument in favour of Marco's general veracity. He was far more truthful than he needed to be. Again, if Marco had invented the whole story of his journey to the East and his sojourn in the empire of Khubilai Khan, it is extremely unlikely that he could have avoided making numerous obvious mistakes. In particular, if he had obtained his information at second hand, without ever visiting China, then it would surely have been almost impossible for him to have avoided glaring anachronisms. It would have taken time to amass such a volume of information, much of which might well have been out of date by the time it reached Marco. If his information had come from more than one source, then it would probably have related to somewhat different periods of time which, without any personal knowledge of the true situation, he could not have reconciled successfully. It is very striking, however, that Marco's accounts of his journeys and of the Yuan empire are exactly right for the period. It has already been pointed out several times in this book that Marco shows accurate knowledge of events and situations that came to pass at exactly the time that he was in the Far East, sometimes only a few years before his return to Venice. It is extremely unlikely that he could have obtained such correct and up-to-date information except by personal observation. Some one and a half centuries after Marco's time, Nicolo de' Conti travelled at least as far to the east as Myanmar. Yet the information that he was able to collect about China was minimal and highly inaccurate. Although the Mongols had been driven from China more than half a century earlier, he stated that the ruler of Cathay was 'the Great Khan'. He seems to have had some vague information about the change of capital city to Nanjing during the early Ming dynasty, but still called the chief city 'Cambalec' (Poggio and Ludovico 1963: 17-18). If this is typical of what could be discovered about China from as near as South-east Asia, then it would surely have been impossible for Marco to have obtained so much correct information except through actually being there. (175-176, emphasis added)
In fact, most of the problems which Haw claims Polo avoids are precisely the problems that critics like myself see in Polo: overblown self-important claims, exaggerations, errors which suggest 2nd and 3rd hand information, and accurate information which is mostly undatable and often very similar to the kind of reference works and histories produced in China. That some people made errors that Polo avoided doesn't change the fact that Polo made errors which he should have avoided. And the fact that Polo knew things that might have been hard to know unless you travelled doesn't change the fact that lots of people travelled and communicated along the routes that Polo had access to; In fact, it's probably more plausible that information travelled those routes and came to Polo than it is that Polo himself travelled the routes he claimed. There's an immense amount of special pleading. Take, for example, Haw's discussion of transcription and translation issues, which is used entirely to explain away the problems in Polo's accounts:
In judging the accuracy of Marco's account, it must always be borne in mind that none of the surviving manuscripts of his book seem in any sense to be 'original'. All have passed through the hands of copyists and, very often, also of translators (Larner 1999: 109). All are quite clearly, to at least some extent, corrupt. Errors in the text may have originated in a variety of ways. Marco himself may have made mistakes. Rustichello may have compounded these, adding further errors of his own. It is possible that he may sometimes have misunderstood what Marco told him. If Marco found it difficult to read the Franco-Italian text written down by Rustichello, he may not have been able to recognize all such early flaws. When the text came to be copied and translated by others, however, the possibility of the introduction of many further inaccuracies and errors grew tremendously. It was quite normal for scribes of the period to 'improve' upon the texts that they copied by making deletions and additions. John of Piano Carpini included a plea near the end of his History of the Mongols, begging 'all those who read the foregoing account not to cut out or add anything' (Dawson (ed.) 1955: 71). Translators were even more liable than copyists to make major changes. The Latin version of Marco's book prepared by Francesco Pipino is an instructive example. He did not hesitate to delete passages that he disliked and to make additions whenever he felt like doing so. Usually, this involved inserting abuse of Muslims or adherents of other non-Christian religions, which is generally conspicuously absent from versions closer to Marco's original intentions (Larner 1999: 76, 104, 113-14). It can be assumed that, where there are errors and inaccuracies in the book, the great majority originated with copyists and translators, not with Marco. (Haw, 176-177)
I particularly like how he starts the chain of reasoning with "Marco himself may have made mistakes." then winds up assuming that only a tiny portion of the failings of the book are Marco's himself. It is true that Polo's book suffers from a shocking degree of textual variation, but the bulk of Haw's argument, and de Rachewiltz's before him, rests on the presumption that the text is still somehow useable, that the confirmable elements create a presumption of reliability for the unconfirmable remainder of the text; my argument, and that of Frances Wood and others, rests on the presumption that the known falsifiable elements of all versions of the text, and the omission of a lot of material that could plausibly be there in a first-hand account of someone who saw as much as Polo claimed, creates a presumption of unreliability for the unconfirmed parts of the book. Haw's conclusion rehashes the argument reasonably well:
various inaccuracies and mistakes ... few serious geographical errors. ... Parts of Marco's book are confused and confusing, parts are inaccurate, parts are exaggerated. No definite reference can be found to any of the Polos in Chinese or Mongol sources. Marco seems not to have noticed some things that we might perhaps expect him to have seen.
Ok, that's not fair. I left out critical components of his conclusions to demonstrate something: Polan critics and supporters actually agree on a great deal. What's different is the presumption of innocence that Polan scholars seem willing to allow, a presumption that I think is at odds with the appropriate skepticism of historians, particularly for more extraordinary claims that should be verifiable. Haw's conclusion is actually:
Overall, despite various inaccuracies and mistakes, Marco Polo's account is remarkable for being absolutely consistent with his claims. There seem to be no detectable anachronisms in his book and very few serious geographical errors. His account of his return journey with his father and uncle, accompanying a Mongol Princess from China to Persia, has quite recently been proved to show knowledge of events that he could scarcely have known about except through personal involvement. Many scholars believe that this is more or less conclusive proof of his story. On balance, it is very much more likely that Marco Polo did indeed go to China than that he did not. It is also likely that he spoke at least a little Chinese (which has almost invariably been thought not to have been the case by previous editors and annotators), though he may well not have been able to read or write Chinese characters. Parts of Marco's book are confused and confusing, parts are inaccurate, parts are exaggerated. No definite reference can be found to any of the Polos in Chinese or Mongol sources. Marco seems not to have noticed some things that we might perhaps expect him to have seen. It would, however, be a serious mistake to judge the book from an exclusively modern point of view and unreasonable to demand of a merchant's son of modest education an erudite and exacting approach to what he saw.

MMA 2012 - China - Yuan - c 1319 - Buddha of Medicine Mural - enhanced panoramaThe irony of Haw's book is that his attempt to prove Polo's veracity ended up failing for me precisely because Haw was trying to be a responsible historian. I tell my students that there is no such thing as a "smoking gun" document, that one document by itself is meaningless. What historians really work with is rich context: looking at the totality of evidence available, and reasonable inferences and generalizations, to judge reliability and importance of individual documents. (( which then becomes part of the body of work by which we judge future documents, etc. )) Haw did a lot of work trying to make sense of Polo's claims, sometimes successfully. But given the manifest flaws of his source, which Haw himself admits, he accomplishes very little. Polan loyalists are already convinced that Polo's claims are valid and useful, except where directly contradicted by evidence. But they are not going to convince Polan skeptics of the truth of Polo's claims except by verification. And the amount of work necessary to make a good case of Polo is the best evidence that Marco Polo's Travels is a bad historical source that should not be relied upon for anything which cannot be independently verified.

2/10/2010

Flonase For Sale

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 9:39 pm

Flonase For Sale, A nice photo essay from Financial Times on railways in Inner Mongolia.  Lots of nice pics, but the thing that amazed me was that the author was traveling with a  "coachload of well-dressed Chinese steam enthusiasts." Needless to say they were there to ride one of China's last working steam locomotives.  For those of you who don't know, train nuts are at least as fanatic as comic book collectors or stamp people or whatever. As far as I am aware China does not yet have a Myles na gCopaleen, Flonase alternatives, Flonase duration,   but apparently they do have plenty of people who are nostalgic for the vanishing industrial past. Doses Flonase work. Order Flonase online overnight delivery no prescription. Flonase no prescription. Buy no prescription Flonase online. Flonase use. Japan, craiglist, ebay, overseas, paypal. Flonase photos. What is Flonase. Flonase street price. Flonase wiki. Flonase alternatives. Where can i find Flonase online. Cheap Flonase no rx. Purchase Flonase online. Flonase from canada. Herbal Flonase. Buy generic Flonase. Flonase without a prescription. Is Flonase addictive. Flonase for sale. Flonase online cod. Flonase long term. Buy cheap Flonase no rx. Online buy Flonase without a prescription. Where can i order Flonase without prescription. Online buying Flonase. Cheap Flonase. About Flonase. Buy Flonase without a prescription. Buy Flonase from canada. Flonase pics. Flonase price, coupon. Where to buy Flonase. Flonase maximum dosage. Flonase gel, ointment, cream, pill, spray, continuous-release, extended-release. Flonase steet value. Flonase mg. No prescription Flonase online.

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12/18/2009

Buy Glucophage Without Prescription

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 7:39 am

Buy Glucophage Without Prescription, As I am half-heartedly getting ready for the Spring I am putting together some readings for my students. What survey would be complete without a chunk from the Secret History of the Mongols. So if you are looking to take a break from your preparations for Taiwan's Constitution Day this is a good way to take a break.  I would like to claim that I have carefully studied the whole text and picked out the best bit to give you a picture of Mongol society, but that's not really true. It is a good read though, if a little long for use in class.

from Chapter Four

After getting Ong Qan to come, Cinggis Qa'an and Ong Qan decided to move jointly against Jamuqa. They set out downstream along the Keluren River, Buy Glucophage Without Prescription. Cinggis Qa'an sent Altan, Qucar and Daritai as vanguard; Ong Qan for his part sent as vanguards Senggum, Jaqa Gambu and Bilge Beki. Patrols were also dispatched ahead of these vanguards: at Enegen Guileni they set up an observation post; beyond that, at Mount Cekcer, they set up another observation post; and beyond that, Glucophage reviews, at Mount Ciqurqu, they set up a further observation post. Altan, Qucar, Senggum and the others of our vanguard arrived at Utkiya. While they were deciding whether to camp there, a man from the observation post which had been set up at Ciqurqu came riding in haste and brought the news that the enemy was approaching. Buy Glucophage Without Prescription, When this news came, without setting up camp they went towards the enemy in order to gain information. They met and gained the information: when they asked the enemy patrol who they were, it turned out to be Jamuqa's vanguard consisting of A'ucu Ba'atur of the Mongols, Buyiruq Qan of the Naiman, Qutu, the son of Toqto'a Beki of the Merkit, and Quduqa Beki of the Oyirat. These four had been going towards us as Jamuqa's vanguard.
Our vanguard shouted at them, purchase Glucophage, and they shouted back, but it was already getting late. Saying, 'Tomorrow we'll fight!', our men withdrew and spent the night together with the main body of the army.
Next day the troops were sent forward and when they met, at Koyiten, they battled, Buy Glucophage Without Prescription. As they pressed on each other downhill and uphill, and reformed their ranks, those very same Buyiruq Qan and Quduqa, knowing how to produce a rainstorm by magic, started to conjure it up, but the magic storm rolled back and it was right upon themselves that it fell. Unable to proceed, they tumbled into ravines. Glucophage pictures, Saying to each other, 'We are not loved by Heaven!', they scattered.
Buyiruq Qan of the Naiman separated from the rest and went towards Uluq Taq on the southern side of the Altai Mountains. Buy Glucophage Without Prescription, Qutu, the son of Toqto'a of the Merkit, went towards the Selengge River. Quduqa Beki of the Oyir went towards the Sisgis River, making for the forest. A'ucu Ba'atur of the Tayici'ut went towards the Onan River.
Jamuqa plundered the very people who had elected him qan; then he moved homewards following the course of the Ergune. As they were dispersing in this way, Ong Qan pursued Jamuqa downstream along the Ergune while Cinggis Qa'an pursued A'ucu Ba'atur of the Tayici'ut in the direction of the Onan.
As soon as A'ucu Ba'atur reached his own people, he had them moved along with him in haste, Buy Glucophage Without Prescription. The Tayici'ut A'ucu Ba'atur and Qodun Orceng arrayed their troops at Ulengut Turas on the other side of the Onan, and stood in battle order ready to fight.
Cinggis Qa'an came up and fought with the Tayici'ut. They battled to and fro incessantly until evening came; then, in the same place where they had been fighting, buy Glucophage online cod, they passed the night right next to each other. When people [the refugees] arrived, fleeing in disarray, they set up a circular camp and also passed the night in the same spot, alongside their troops.  In that battle Cinggis Qa'an was wounded in a vein of the neck. Buy Glucophage Without Prescription, He could not stop the bleeding and was in a great plight. He waited till sundown, then he pitched camp just there where the two armies had encamped right next to each other.
Jelme sucked and sucked the blood which clogged Cinggis Qa 'an's wound and his mouth was all smeared with blood. Still, Jelme, not trusting other people, stayed there and looked after him. Until the middle of the night he swallowed down or spat out mouthfulls of the clogging blood.
When midnight had passed Cinggis Qa'an revived and said, 'The blood has dried up completely; I am thirsty.' Then Jelme took off his hat, boots and clothes - everything - and stark naked but for his pants, he ran into the midst of the enemy who had settled right next to them, Buy Glucophage Without Prescription. Buy Glucophage without prescription, He jumped  on to a cart of the people who had set up a circular camp over there. He searched for kumis, but was unable to find any because those people had fled in disarray and had turned the mares loose without milking them.
As he could not find kumis, he took from one of their carts a large covered bucket of curds and carried it back In the time between his going and coming back he was not seen by anyone. Heaven indeed protected him. Buy Glucophage Without Prescription, Having brought the covered bucket of curds, the same Jelme, all by himself, searched for water, brought it back and having mixed it with the curds got the Qa'an to drink it.
Three times, resting in between, the Qa'an drank, then he spoke: 'The eyes within me have cleared up.' He spoke and sat up: it was daybreak and growing light. He looked and saw that, all about the place where he was sitting, the wound-clogging blood that Jelme had kept on sucking and had spat about had formed small puddles. When he saw it, Cinggis Qa'an said, where can i find Glucophage online, 'What is this. Couldn't you have spat farther away?' Jelme then said, 'When you were in a great plight, had I gone farther away I would have feared being separated from you. As I was in haste, I swallowed what I could swallow and spat out what I could spit out; I was in a plight myself and quite a lot went also into my stomach!'
Cinggis Qa'an again spoke: 'When I was in this state, lying down, why did you run naked into their camp, Buy Glucophage Without Prescription. Had you been caught, wouldn't you have revealed that I was like this?' Jelme said, 'My thought, as I went naked, was that if somehow I got caught, I would have said, "I wanted to submit to you, but they found out and, seizing me, Buy cheap Glucophage, decided to kill me. They removed my clothes - everything - only my pants had not yet been removed when I suddenly managed to escape and have just come in haste to join you. They would have regarded me as sincere, they would have given me clothes and looked after me. Then, I would have jumped on a horse and while they were astonished watching me flee, in that brief moment I would have surely got back. Buy Glucophage Without Prescription, So thinking, and because I wished to get back in time to satisfy the Qa'an's craving for drink caused by his parching thirst, thinking this and without so much as blinking an eye I went there.'
Cinggis Qa'an said, 'What can I say now. In former days, when the Three Merkit came and thrice circled Mount Burqan, you saved my life for the first time. Now, once more, you restored me to life when, with your mouth, you sucked the clotting blood from my wound, Glucophage schedule. And, yet again, when I was in a great plight with a parching thirst, disregarding your life, you went amidst the enemy without so much as blinking an eye; you quenched my thirst and restored life to me. These three services of yours will stay  in my heart!' Thus the Qa'an spoke.

When it had grown light, it turned out that the enemy troops who were bivouacking right next to us had dispersed during the night; only the people who had set up the circular camp had not moved from the place where they had encamped because they would not have been able to get
away.
Cinggis Qa'an moved from the place where he had spent the night in order to bring back [i.e recapture] the people who had fled, Buy Glucophage Without Prescription. As he was bringing back the fugitives, Cinggis Qa'an himself heard a woman in a red coat who, standing on top of a ridge, was wailing loudly, crying 'Temujin!' He sent a man to enquire whose wife was the woman who was crying like that. The man went and, having asked her, Taking Glucophage, that woman said, 'I am the daughter of Sorqan Sira and my name is Qada'an. The soldiers here captured my husband and going to kill him. As my husband was being killed I cried and wailed and called on Temujin to save my husband ' So
she said, and the man returned and reported these words to Cinggis Qa'an. Buy Glucophage Without Prescription, Hearing these words, Cinggis Qa'an rode at a trot and reached her; he dismounted near Qada'an and they embraced each other, but her husband had already been killed by our soldiers. .
After Cinggis Qa'an had brought back those people he camped on the spot for the night with his great army. He invited Qada'an to come to him and had her sit by his side.
The following day, Sorqan Sira and Jebe, who had been retainers of Todoge of the Tayici'ut, also arrived - the two of them. Cinggis Qa'an said to Sorqan Sira, 'It was indeed a good service of you, father and sons,

To throw to the ground
The heavy wood on my neck,
To remove the wooden cangue
That was on my collar.

Why, then, did you delay coming to me, Buy Glucophage Without Prescription.
Sorqan Sira said, 'At heart I felt full confidence in you, but how could I make haste, about Glucophage. Had I hurried and come to you earlier, my Tayici'ut masters would have blown to the winds, like hearth-ashes,  my wife and children, and the cattle and provisions I had left behind. Because of this I did not hurry, but now that the Tayici'ut have been defeated we came in haste to join our Qa'an.' When he had finished speaking, Cinggis Qa'an said, 'You did right!'
Again Cinggis Qa'an spoke, saying 'When we fought at Koyiten and, pressing on each other, were reforming our ranks, from the top of those ridges an arrow came. Get Glucophage, Who, from the top of the mountain, shot an arrow so as to sever the neckbone of my tawny war horse with the white mouth?' To these words Jebe said, 'I shot the arrow from the top of the mountain. Buy Glucophage Without Prescription, If now I am put to death by the Qa'an, I shall be left to rot on a piece of earth the size of the palm of a hand, but if I be favoured,
For the Qa'an I will charge forward
So as to rend the deep water,
So as to crumble the shining stone.
For him I will charge forward
So as to split the blue stone
In the place which I am told to reach,
So as to crush the black stone
At the time when I am told to attack.'

Cinggis Qa'an said, 'A man who used to be an enemy, when it comes to his former killings and hostile actions "conceals his person and hides his tongue" - he is afraid. As for this one, however, he does not hide his killings and hostile actions; on the contrary, he makes them known. He is a man to have as a companion. He is named Jirqo'adai, but because he shot an arrow at the neckbone of my tawny war horse with the white mouth, rx free Glucophage, I shall call him Jebe [a type of arrow] and I will use him as my jebe arrow.' He named him Jebe and said,
'Keep by my side!'
This is the way in which Jebe came from the Tayici'ut and became a companion of Cinggis Qa 'an.

CHAPTER FIVE
When, on that occasion, Cinggis Qa'an plundered tih Tayici'ut, he wiped out the men of Tayici'ut lineage, such the Tayici'ut A'ucu Ba'atur, Qoton Orceng and Qudu'udar he blew them to the winds like hearth-ashes, even to the offspring of their offspring, Buy Glucophage Without Prescription. Cinggis Qa'an carried away the people of their tribe, and spent the winter at Quba Qaya.
Old Sirgii'etu of the Niciigut Ba'arin tribe, together with his sons Alaq and Naya'a, seized Tarqutai Kiriltuq chief of the Tayici'ut, who was hiding in the woods, because he was a mortal enemy of Cinggis Qa 'an. As Tarqutai could not mount a horse, [he was too fat] they made him ride in a cart.
As Old Sirgu'etu and his sons Alaq and Naya'a were proceeding thus, holding down Tarqutai Kiriltuq, Glucophage online cod, the sons and younger brothers of Tarqutai Kiriltuq said, 'Let us take him away from them ' They approached and overtook them. Buy Glucophage Without Prescription, When his sons and younger brothers caught up, Old Sirgii'etu got onto the cart and, sitting astride Tarqutai, who was lying on his back and unable to stand up, drew a knife and said, 'Your sons and younger brothers have come to take you away. Even if I do not kill you, telling myself that I am laying hands on my lord, they will surely kill me saying that I did lay hands on my lord. And if I do kill you, I shall of course be killed all the same. So, at the very moment I die, I shall die taking you as my death-companion.'
Thus saying he straddled him and was about to cut his throat with his big knife, when Tarqutai Kiriltuq, calling loudly to his younger brothers and sons, said, 'Sirgii'etu is kiling me. Once he has killed me, Glucophage samples, what will you achieve by taking away my dead and lifeless body. Draw back at once before he kills me, Buy Glucophage Without Prescription. Temujin will not kill me. When Temujin was still little, because

He had fire in his eyes,
He had a light in his face,

and because he had been abandoned in a camp without a master,' I went there to get him and brought him back home
with me:
Saying that if I taught him
He would be likely to leam,
I kept teaching and instructing him just as if
He was a two or three-year-old new colt
I had been training.
Had I wanted to make him die,
Would I not have been able to kill him.
They say that at present He is becoming thoughtful in his actions,
That his mind is clear.

Temujin will not cause me to die. Buy Glucophage Without Prescription, You, my sons and younger brothers, quickly turn back at once lest Sirgu'etu kills me.' So he cried out loudly.  Tarqutai's sons and younger brothers conferred among themselves: 'We came to save father's life. Once Sirgu'etu has deprived him of his life, Cheap Glucophage, what can we do with his empty, lifeless body. Better to turn back at once before he kills him!' So saying, back they turned. Alaq and Naya'a, the sons of Old Sirgu'etu who had withdrawn on their arrival,
now returned. Sirgii 'etu, having waited for them to come back, moved on together with his sons.
As they proceeded on their way, on reaching the Qutuqul Bend' Naya'a then said, 'If we arrive holding this Tarqutai captive, Cinggis Qa'an will say of us that we came having laid hands on our rightful lord, Buy Glucophage Without Prescription. Cinggis Qa'an will say of us, "How trustworthy a people are these who come having laid hands on their rightful lord. How can they still be companions to us. They are people who are not worthy of companionship. People who lay hands on their rightful lord must be cut down!" Shall we not be cut down, Glucophage pharmacy. Buy Glucophage Without Prescription, Better to free Tarqutai and send him away from here, and go to Cinggis Qa'an saying, "We, possessing only our bodies, have come to offer our services to Cinggis Qa'an." We shall say, "We had seized Tarqutai and were on our way here, but we could not do away with our rightful lord. Saying to ourselves, 'How can we make him die before our very eyes?', we freed him and sent him away, and we have come respectfully to offer our services.'"
So he spoke and the father and sons, having approved these words of Naya'a, set Tarqutai Kiriltuq free and sent him away from Quduqul Bend.
When this same Old Sirgu'etu arrived with his sons Alaq and Naya'a, Cinggis Qa'an asked why they had come. Old Sirgii'etu told Cinggis Qa'an, 'We seized Tarqutai Kiriltuq and were on our way here, but then saying to ourselves, "How can we make our rightful lord die before our very eyes?", we could not do away with him. Glucophage photos, We set him free and sent him off, and came to Cinggis Qa'an to offer our services.'
At that, Cinggis Qa'an said, 'If you had come having laid hands on your lord Tarqutai, you and your offspring would have been cut down as people who had laid hands on their rightful lord. Your thought that you could not do away with your rightful lord is correct.' So saying, he showed favour to Naya'a, Buy Glucophage Without Prescription.
After that, when Cinggis Qa'an was at Dersiit, Jaqa Gambu of the Kereyit came to join him as a companion. When he arrived, the Merkit were approaching to fight. Cinggis Qa'an, Jaqa Gambu and other chiefs engaged them and drove them back. Then, Jaqa Gambu made the Tumen Tubegen and the Olon Dongqayit, two scattered tribes of the Kereyit, also come and submit to Cinggis Qa'an, Glucophage dose.
As for Ong Qa'an of the Kereyit, previously - in the time of Yisugei Qa'an - because they were living together very harmoniously, he and Yisugei Qan had declared themselves sworn friends. Buy Glucophage Without Prescription, The manner in which they had declared themselves sworn friends was as follows:
Because Ong Qan had killed the younger brothers of his father Qurcaqus Buyiruq Qan, he had become a rebel towards his paternal uncle Gur Qan and was forced to sneak away through the Qara'un Gorge to escape from him. With only a hundred men he got out of the gorge and joined Yisugei Qan. Prompted by his coming to him, Yisugei Qan moved his own army into the field and, driving Gur Qan toward Qasin, he took Ong Qan's people and returned them to him. This is why they became sworn friends.
After that, when Ong Qan's younger brother Erke Qara was about to be killed by his elder brother Ong Qan, he escaped and submitted to Inanca Qan of the Naiman. Inanca Qan dispatched his troops, but Ong Qan in his wanderings had already passed three cities and had made his way to the gur qan of the Qara Kidat, Buy Glucophage Without Prescription. From there, Glucophage cost, having rebelled against the gur qan, he passed through the cities of Uyiqut and the Tangqut. He fed himself on the way by milking five goats, muzzling their kids,  and by bleeding his camel.
While in these straits, he came to Lake Guseur . Cinggis Qa'an, on account of Ong Qan and Yisugei Qan having formerly declared themselves sworn friends sent him as envoys Taqai Ba'atur and Sukegei Je'un; then from the source of the Keluren River, Cinggis Qa'an went in person to meet him. Buy Glucophage Without Prescription, Because Ong Qan had arrived starved and exhausted, Cinggis Qa 'an raised taxes for him, brought him into the camp and took care of him.
That winter, in an orderly way they moved to new pastures and Cinggis Qa'an wintered at Quba Qaya.
Then Ong Qan's younger brothers and the chiefs said among themselves,
Our elder brother the Qan
Has a miserable nature; he goes on
Harbouring a rotten liver.

He has destroyed his brothers and has even submitted to the Qara Kidat - and he makes his people suffer, buy Glucophage from mexico. Now, what shall we do with him. To speak of his early days, when he was seven years old the Merkit carried him off; they gave him a kidskin coat with black spots to wear, and in the Bu'ura Steppe by the Selengge River he pounded grain in a Merkit's mortar. But his father Qurcaqus Buyiruq Qan raided the Merkit and there and then rescued his son, Buy Glucophage Without Prescription. And again, when he was thirteen years old, Ajai Qan of the Tatar carried him off together with his mother. When Ajai Qan made him look after his camels, he took with him a shepherd of Ajai Qan and fled back home. After that, he fled again for fear of the Naiman and went to the gur qan of the Qara Kidat on the Cui River, in the country of the Sarta'ul. Online Glucophage without a prescription, Then, in less man a year, he rebelled and left once more. Buy Glucophage Without Prescription, He skirted the country of the Ui'ut and the Tang'ut. Reduced to straits as he went on, he fed himself by milking five goats, muzzling their kids, and by bleeding his camel. He had only a blind yellowish-white horse with a black tail and mane. Being in these straits, he came to his son Temujin, who raised taxes and indeed took care of him. Now, forgetting that he kept himself alive like this thanks to his son Temujin, he goes on harbouring a rotten liver. What shall we do with him, Buy Glucophage Without Prescription.
So they said among themselves, Glucophage over the counter, and their words were reported by Altun Asuq to Ong Qan. Altun Asuq said, 'I too did take part in this scheme, but I could not do away with you, my Qan.' Then Ong Qan had his younger brothers and chiefs arrested: El Qutur, Quibari, Alin Taisi and the others who had thus conspired. From among his younger brothers, only Jaqa Gambu escaped and submitted to the Naiman.
Ong Qan had them brought in fetters into his tent and said to them, 'What did we pledge to each other when we passed by the country of the Ui'ut and the Tang'ut. Buy Glucophage Without Prescription, How could I think like you?' So saying, spitting in their faces, he had them freed from their fetters. After they had been spat on by the Qan himself, the people who were in the tent all rose and spat on them. Buy no prescription Glucophage online, After having spent that winter (1201-1202) at Qaya, in the autumn of the Year of the Dog (1202), Cinggis Qa'an engaged these Tatars in battle at Dalan Neniu [Seventy Felt Cloaks] the Ca'a'an Tatar, Aici Tatar, Duta'ut [Tatar] and Aru Tatar. Before fighting, Cinggis Qa'an jointly issued  following decree: 'If we overcome the enemy, we shall not stop for booty. When the victory is complete, that booty will surely be ours, and we will share it among ourselves if we are forced by the enemy to retreat, let us turn back to th point where we began the attack. Those men who do not turn back to the point where we began the attack shall be cut down!' So he decreed with them, Buy Glucophage Without Prescription.
They fought at Dalan Nemurges and drove off the Tatars. After they had overcome them, they forced them to rejoin their tribe on the Ulqui Silugeljit River and thoroughly plundered them, Glucophage results. There and then they destroyed these important people: the Ca'an Tatar, Aici Tatar, Duta'ut Tatar and Aruqai Tatar.
As for the words of the decree that had been jointly issued, since Altan, Qucar and Daritai - all three - had not complied with them and had stopped for booty, Cinggis Qa 'an, saying that they had not complied with these words, sent Jebe and Qubilai to take away from them the herds of horses and the goods they had acquired as booty - every­thing they had seized. Buy Glucophage Without Prescription, Having destroyed and thoroughly plundered the Tatars, Cinggis Qa'an held a great council with his kinsmen m a single tent to decide what to do with the Tatar tribesmen. Together they decided as follows:
'From olden days the Tatar people Have destroyed our fathers and forefathers;
To avenge our fathers and forefathers,
And requite the wrong, for them
We shall measure the Tatars against the linchpin
of a cart,
And kill them to the last one, Ordering Glucophage online, We shall utterly slay them. [those taller than the litchpin]
The rest we shall enslave:
Some here, some there, dividing them among
ourselves!'

The council being concluded, as they emerged from the tent the Tatar Yeke Ceren asked Belgutei what decision they had made. Belgutei said, 'We have decided to measure you all against the linchpin of a cart and slay you.'
At these words of Belgutei, Yeke Ceren issued a proclamation to his Tatars, and they raised a barricade. As our soldiers tried to surround and attack the Tatars that had barricaded themselves in, they suffered great losses. After much trouble, when they forced the barricaded Tatars into submission and were about to slay them to the last man by measuring them against the linchpin of a cart, the Tatars said among themselves, 'Let everyone put a knife in his sleeve and let us die each taking an enemy with us as a death-companion, Buy Glucophage Without Prescription. ' And again we suffered great losses. In this way the Tatars were finally measured against the
linchpin of a cart and exterminated.
Then Cinggis Qa'an issued this order: 'Because Belgutei divulged the decision we took together with our kinsmen at the great council, our soldiers suffered great losses, Glucophage from canada. From now on Belgutei shall not join us in great councils; until the council ends, he shall handle those who are outside and, having dealt with them, he shall judge litigations and those guilty of theft and falsehood. Buy Glucophage Without Prescription, When the council is over and after we have drunk the cerem wine, only then shall Belgiitei and Da' aritai join us'' So he ordered.
Then, on that occasion, Cinggis Qa'an took as wife Yisugen Qatun, daughter of the Tatar Yeke Ceren. Being loved by him, Yisugen Qatun said, 'If it pleases the Qa'an he will take care of me, regarding me as a human being and a person worth keeping.''  But my elder sister, who is called Yisui, Glucophage class, is superior to me: she is more suitable for a ruler. Recently, a bridegroom for her was taken into our family as a son-in-law. I wonder now where she has gone in all this confusion.'
On these words Cinggis Qa'an said, 'If your elder sister is better than you, let us make a search for her. But if your elder sister comes to hand, will you yield your place to her?' Yisugen Qatun said, 'If it pleases the Qa'an, as soon as I see my elder sister I shall yield to her.'
On this promise, Cinggis Qa'an issued the order and had a search made, Buy Glucophage Without Prescription. Our soldiers came across her as she was going into a wood together with the bridegroom to whom she had been given. Her husband fled. They then brought back Yisui Qatun.
When Yisugen Qatun saw her elder sister, keeping the promise she had made earlier, she rose and let her sit in the place she had occupied. Buy Glucophage Without Prescription, She herself took a lower seat.
Since she tumed out to be as Yisugen Qatun had said, Cinggis Qa'an was pleased with her; he married Yisui Qatun and placed her in the rank of his principal wives.
After having completely ravaged the Tatars, buy Glucophage no prescription, one day Cinggis Qa'an sat outside drinking in company. He was sitting between both Yisui Qatun and Yisugen Qatun, and was drinking with them, when Yisui Qatun heaved a deep sigh Then Cinggis Qa'an, having thought it over, sum­moned Bo'orcu, Muqali and other chiefs, and said, 'You make all these people who have been assembled here - and no others - stand in groups of related families, and separate from the rest any man in a group which is not his own.' So he ordered.
As the people were standing thus in groups of related families, a handsome and alert young man stood apart from all the groups. When they said, 'To which clan do you belong?', that man said, 'I am the bridegroom to whom was given the daughter of the Tatar Yeke Ceren called Yisui, Buy Glucophage Without Prescription. When we were plundered by the enemy, Purchase Glucophage online, I took fright and fled. I came hither because things seemed to have settled down now and I kept telling myself, "How can I be recog­nized among so many people?'"
When these words were reported to Cinggis Qa'an, he ordered: 'All the same, he has been living as an outcast, with hostile intentions; what has he come to spy upon now. Those like him we have measured against the linchpin of a cart and exterminated. Why hesitate. Buy Glucophage Without Prescription, Cast him out of my sight!' He was cut down immediately.
When, in that same Year of the Dog (1202), Cinggis Qa'an rode against the Tatars, Ong Qan rode against the Merkit. Pursuing Toqto'a Beki in the direction of the Barqujin Lowland, Ong Qan killed Togus Beki, the eldest son of Toqto'a, Glucophage australia, uk, us, usa, seized Toqto'a's two daughters Qutuqtai and Ca'alun and his wives, and plundered his two sons Qutu and Cila'un together with their people, but of all the booty he gave not one thing to Cinggis Qa'an.
After that, Cinggis Qa'an and Ong Qan rode against Buyiruq Qan of the Gucugut clan of the Naiman. They reached Soqoq Usun by the Uluq Taq where Buyruq Qan was staying at the time.
Unable to engage in combat, Buyiruq Qan went off, crossing the Altai Mountains, Buy Glucophage Without Prescription. They pursued Buyiruq Qan n from Soqoq Usun and, forcing him to cross the Altai they chased him along the Urunggti River downstream at Qun Singgir.
While this was going on, a chief called Yedi Tubluq who was patrolling for Buyiruq Qan, was pursued by our patrol. As he was about to flee up the mountain side his saddle-strap broke and he was captured on the spot. Pursu­ing Buyiruq Qan down along the Urunggu River, Glucophage steet value, they over­took him at Lake Kisil Bas, and there they finished him off. Buy Glucophage Without Prescription, As Cinggis Qa'an and Ong Qan were returning from that place, the great warrior Kokse'u Sabraq of the Naiman arrayed his troops at the Bayidaraq Confluence and prepared to fight them. Cinggis Qa'an and Ong Qan likewise decided to fight and arrayed their troops; however, when they arrived it was already getting late. They said, 'We shall fight in the morning!', and passed the night in battle order. Then Ong Qan had fires lit in the place where he was stationed and that same night moved upstream along the Qara Se'ul River.
Jamuqa then moved on together with Ong Qan and, as they went, Jamuqa said to Ong Qan, 'My sworn friend Temujin for a long time has been sending envoys to the Naiman, and now he has not come with us.
Qan, Qan, I am the skylark
That stays in one place;
My sworn friend is
The migratory lark.

He must have gone over to the Naiman and has remained behind with the intention of submitting to them.'
At these words of Jamuqa, Gurin Ba'atur of the Ubciq said 'How can you speak so deceitfully, backbiting and slandering your upright brother?'
Cinggis Qa'an had spent the night at that same place, Buy Glucophage Without Prescription. Early next morning, at daybreak, generic Glucophage, he wanted to fight, but when he looked across to Ong Qan's position, he found that he was no longer there. Saying, 'They certainly treat us like burnt offerings at the sacrifice for the dead,'' [Something that is no longer useful and can be discarded] Cinggis Qa'an also moved out from there. He crossed the river at the Eder Altai Confluence and, being on the move, proceeded further,
setting up camp in the Sa'ari Steppe.
Thereafter, Cinggis Qa'an and Qasar, having realised the difficulties of the Naiman, After Glucophage, no longer counted them as people to be reckoned with. Buy Glucophage Without Prescription, Kokse'u Sabraq went in pursuit of Ong Qan. He captured the wife of his son Senggum together with all his people. He captured also half the people and livestock of Ong Qan which were at Telegetu Pass, and returned home.
At the time of that engagement, Qutu and Cila'un, the two sons of Toqto'a of the Merkit who were also there, separated from Ong Qan and, taking their own people with them, moved downstream along the Selengge River to join their father.
After being pillaged by Koksegu Sabraq, Ong Qan sent an envoy to Cinggis Qa'an. Through the envoy he sent this
message: 'I have been robbed by the Naiman of my people and my wife, Buy Glucophage Without Prescription. I send this envoy to request from you, my son your "four steeds.'" Let them rescue my people for me!'
Cinggis Qa'an then sent Bo'orcu, Muqali, my Glucophage experience, Boroqul and Cila'un Ba'atur, these 'four steeds' of his, and arrayed his troops. Before the 'four steeds' arrived, Senggum had just joined battle with Kokse'u Sabraq at Hula'an Qut; his horse had been shot in the thigh by an arrow and he himself was about to be captured.
At that moment those 'four steeds' arrived and saved him, and they recovered his people and his wife for him -all of them. Ong Qan then said, 'Formerly his good father had saved my people who had been lost like this; now, once more, his son, by sending his "four steeds", has rescued my lost people for me. Buy Glucophage Without Prescription, As to my repaying these favours, let only the protection of Heaven and Earth decide how, and in what measure. Doses Glucophage work, Ong Qan said further, 'My sworn friend Yisugei Ba'atur once rescued my lost people for me; his son Temujin has again rescued for me my people who had gone away. When these two, father and son, gathered the lost people and returned them to me, for whose sake did they take the trouble of gathering and returning them.
As for myself, now
I have grown old, and having grown old,
When I shall ascend to the heights -
I have grown ancient, and having grown ancient,
When I shall ascend to the cliffs -
Who will govern all my people?

]y[y younger brothers lack force of character; there is only Senggum, my one son, but it is as if he did not exist. If I make my son Temujin the elder brother of Senggum, Glucophage no rx, I shall have two sons and my mind will be at rest.' Having said this, Ong Qan and Cinggis Qa'an met together in the Black Forest by the Tu'ula River and declared themselves father and son. The reason why they declared themselves father and son was because in early days Ong Qan had declared himself a sworn friend of Cinggis Qa'an's father Yisugei Qan, and by virtue of this fact Cinggis Qa'an said that Ong Qan was like a father to him, Buy Glucophage Without Prescription. Such was the reason why they declared themselves father and son. They made the following promises to each other:
'When we attack the enemy hosts,
We shall attack together as one;
When we chase the cunning wild beasts,
We shall also chase them together as one!'

So they declared. Cinggis Qa'an and Ong Qan also pro­mised each other, saying,
'Out of jealousy for us two -
Should a snake with venomous teeth
Provoke discord between us,
Let us not succumb to his provocations.
By talking only mouth to mouth
We shall believe each other
Should a snake with venomous fangs
Spread slander about us,
Let us not accept his slander.
By explaining only face to face
We shall believe each other!
Buy Glucophage Without Prescription, And, pledging their word, they lived together in mutual affection.

'On top of affection let there be more affection Cinggis Qa'an thought; and requesting the younger sister of Sengglim, Glucophage without a prescription, Ca'ur Beki, for his son Joci he said, 'I shall give in exchange our daughter Qojin Beki to Senggum's som Tusaqa.'
When this request was made, Senggum, then, imagining himself to be very important, said, 'If a kinswoman of our goes to them, she would have to stand by the door and only face towards the back of the tent; but if a kinswoman of theirs comes to us, she would sit in the back of the tent and face towards the door." So, imagining himself to be very important, he spoke disparagingly of us; he was not pleased with our proposition and would not give Ca'ur Beki.
Because of these words, Cinggis Qa'an in his heart lost affection for Ong Qan and Nilqa Sengglim.
Jamuqa realised that Cinggis Qa 'an had in this way lost his affection for them, comprar en línea Glucophage, comprar Glucophage baratos. In the spring of the Year of the Pig (1203), Jamuqa, Altan and Qucar, Ebugejin and Noyakin of the Qardakin tribe, To'oril of the Soge'en tribe and Qaci'un Beki, all these, having come to an understanding, set out and went to Nilqa Sengglim at Berke Elet, on the northern side of the JeJe'er Heights.
Slandering Cinggis Qa'an, Jamuqa spoke: 'My sworn friend Temujin has messengers sent with secret communica­tions to Tayang Qan of the Naiman, Buy Glucophage Without Prescription. His mouth is saying "father" and "son", but his behaviour is quite otherwise. Are you going to trust him. If you do not take him by surprise and strike at him, Australia, uk, us, usa, what will become of you. If you move against my sworn friend Temujin, I will join you and attack his flank!'
Altan and Qucar said, 'As for the sons of Mother Ho'elun.foryou,

We shall kill the elder brother,
And do away with the younger brother!'

Ebugejin and Noyakin - the two Qarta'at - said, 'For
you,
We shall seize his hands,
And grasp his feet!'

To'oril said, 'The best plan is to go ahead and capture Temujin's people. Buy Glucophage Without Prescription, If his people are taken away from him
and he is left without them, what can he do?'
Qaci'un Beki said, 'Prince Nilqa Sengglim, whatever you decide I shall go with you,

To the farthest limit,
To the bottom of the deep!'

Having been told these words, Nilqa Senggum reported to his father Ong Qan those very words through Sayiqan
Tode'en. When he was told this, Ong Qan said, 'How can you think such things about my son Temujin. Until now we had him as our support, and if now we harbour such evil intentions towards my son, Glucophage without prescription, we shall not be loved by Heaven. Jamuqa has a glib tongue. Is he right in what he says. Is he correct?' He was displeased and sent back Sayiqan Tode'en, Buy Glucophage Without Prescription.
Senggum sent another message saying, 'When any man with a mouth and a tongue says these things, how can one not believe him?' He sent messages twice, three times, but could not convince Ong Qan. Finally, he went to him in person and said, 'Even now, at a time when you are still so lively and well, Temujin has not the slightest regard for us. Truly, when you, his father the Qan, will have reach the age when men

Choke on the white milk,
And are stifled by the black meat,

will he let us govern your people - the people that your father Qurcaqus Buyiruq Qan gathered laboriously in  great number. How will he let anyone govern it?'
At these words, Ong Qan said, 'How can I do away with my child, my son. Because until now he has been our support, is it right to harbour evil intentions against him^?We shall not be loved by Heaven.'
At these words, his son Nilqa Senggum became angry-he pushed off the tent-door and left. But Ong Qan, con­cerned about losing the affection of his son Senggum, called him back and said to him, 'Who knows whether we shall be loved by Heaven after all. You say, "How shall we do away with the son?" Just do what you can - it is for you to decide!'

From Igor de Rachewiltz's translation. Brill 2004.

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5/6/2008

China’s Robinson Crusoe

I've been reading Wolf Totem and having a lot of fun doing so. The book, based on Jiang Rong's time as a sent-down youth in Inner Mongolia. was a huge best-seller in China. Why is this book a Thing Chinese People Like? Nicole Barnes says that the book is nostalgic drivel aimed at Chinese who long for a world with fewer skyscrapers and more manliness and seek it in Mongolia. A lot of the novel is also nostalgia for the past. If you want to recapture the ancient knowledge of the East, Mongolia is apparently the place to do it. Our Chinese heroes spend a lot of time trying to keep wolves from eating the sheep, and learning about the symbiotic relationship between the Mongols, the steppe, and the wolves, and thus the foundations of Asian society.
Chen felt himself to be standing at the mouth of a tunnel to five thousand years of Chinese history. Every day and every night, he thought, men have fought wolves on the Mongolian plateau, a minor skirmish here, a pitched battle there. The frequency of these clashes has even surpassed the frequency of battles among all the nomadic peoples of the West outside of wolf and man, plus the cruel, protracted wars between nomadic tribes, conflicts between nationalities, and wars of aggression; it is that frequency that has strengthened and advanced the mastery of the combatants in these battles. The grassland people are better and more knowledgeable fighters than any farming race of people or nomadic tribe in the world. In the history of China—from the Zhou dynasty, through the Warring States, and on to the Qin, Han, Tang, and Song dynasties—all those great agrarian societies, with their large populations and superior strength, were often crushed in combat with minor nomadic tribes, suffering catastrophic and humiliating defeat. At the end of the Song dynasty, the Mongol hordes of Genghis Khan invaded the Central Plains and remained in power for nearly a century. China's last feudal dynasty, the Qing, was itself founded by nomads. The Han race, with its ties to the land, has gone without the superior military teachings of a wolf drillmaster and has been deprived of constant rigorous training exercises. The ancient Chinese had their Sun-tzu and his military treatise, but that was on paper. Besides, even they were based in part on the lupine arts of war. Millions of Chinese died at the hands of invasions by peoples of the North over thousands of years, and Chen felt as if he'd found the source of that sad history. Relationships among the creatures on earth have dictated the course of history and of fate, he thought. The military talents of a people in protecting their homes and their nation are essential to their founding and their survival. If there had been no wolves on the Mongolian grassland, would China and the world be different than they are today? Jiang Rong p.99
Wolf Totem actually fits pretty well with the other book I am reading for fun at the moment, Rose's Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes. Rose's book was very well-received,which is not surprising as it is a very good look as what ordinary British folk read and what they got out of it in the couple of centuries before 1945. One book that was quite popular for a very long time was Robinson Crusoe. Like Wolf Totem it is a ripping yarn with extended didactic passages. Like Wolf Totem it is a story of civilized men outside the city. Rose suggests that Crusoe was popular in part because appealed to both members of the new middle class who were no longer able to provide what they needed with their own hands and to those who were still working with their hands and liked reading a book that represented what they did as important. Wolf Totem has a lot of that as well. As a keyboard jockey I like books about places where everyone is doing something and it is clear exactly what benefit each thing provides. The is particularly clear in Wolf Totem, since Jiang goes through the workpoint value of each job a person can do and shows how each is perfectly calibrated to the exertion the work requires and its value to the group. ((I'm guessing that many of his readers have no memory of how the workpoint system actually functioned)) Would you be willing to go without electricity to live in a world where every day you did things of real value and this was accepted by everyone around you, and sucking up and bullshit were totally impossible? Apparently some people in China would too. More later (mabye) on ethnic politics in the book.

4/20/2007

Maps and Empire

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 7:52 pm
Maps have been an important part of empire in China for a long time. In the Warring States period spies were always trying to steal maps, and defeated states presented maps of their territory to the victors as a sign of submission. Geographic knowledge written down in books like the Classic of Mountians and Seas was avidly collected as a way of learning the universal patterns of the universe. Needless to say there has been a lot written in the last decade or so about how cartography connects to empire, as it fits in so well with whole postmodern power/knowledge thing. To map a place is to control it, and thus empire-builders were always interested in mapping. I have not found many better visual representations of this than this map of Russian cartography on China, found on the CHGIS site.

Russian Imperialism in China

 

The map shows the level of detail in Russian maps of China as of 1918. You can see that they were going to great lengths to get information about Manchuria, and that various military and scientific expeditions were bringing back good data from Mongolia and Tibet. It would be interesting to make up maps like this for British and French and Japanese (and Chinese) knowledge of China, but for now this is all we have.

1/15/2007

Bad History: Mongols good, US bad?

Filed under: — Jonathan Dresner @ 3:35 pm

Jack Weatherford's piece reprinted in the latest edition of (the increasingly inaptly named) Japan Focus argues that the US occupation of Iraq is a failure, while the Mongol occupation of Persia was a success, and that -- and here's where I have start to have problems -- it must mean that the US can and should learn something from the differences. It's kind of odd, actually, to see a Japan Focus piece which argues that the US should have been killing more people, more efficiently -- "the Mongols perfected the list of who to kill in a conquered land," says Weatherford -- to produce a "better" result.

Let's face it: if the US had followed a Mongol policy, as described by Weatherford -- proxy armies, mass population displacement, "selective" massacres, blanket execution of leadership, etc. -- Japan Focus and every other left or "progressive" venue would be seething with justified righteous rage. Moreover, a good deal of what Weatherford describes as the redeeming qualities of Mongol rule -- secular government, low taxation, redistribution of government assets, harsh enforcement of law-n-order -- are entirely in line with what the US has been trying to accomplish.

Ultimately, the difference seems to come down to the Mongols ability to monopolize force, not to some kind of superiority in their post-occupation planning, and the modern revolution in small arms and explosives and transportation has made that considerably less tenable. Additionally, the Mongols were not trying to be leaders on a world stage in which moral capital mattered; they were conquerers who cultivated an aura of death, and there were no neighbors with competing interests fomenting instability in their borders. It's true that the US has used some restraint in responding to insurgent provocations, but then the US is not trying to create a colony with a figurehead scholar-governor, nor is it content to leave in place the kind of government which existed before, with its secret police, limited religious freedoms, etc.

It has been argued, I've argued it myself, that the US should have gone in with considerably greater forces than they did, in order to have a better chance at social stability and political reconstruction. But that's hardly an endorsement of the slash-and-burn methods of 750 years ago.

5/9/2006

Tombs on Tuesday

Filed under: — Jonathan Dresner @ 12:06 am
It's been a good week for archaeology in the news, it seems:

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